nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒02‒14
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Diversity and Popularity in Social Networks By Yann Bramoullé; Brian W. Rogers
  2. The Role of Social Ties in the Job Search of Recent Immigrants By Goel, Deepti; Lang, Kevin
  3. Social Interaction and Sickness Absence By Lindbeck, Assar; Palme, Mårten; Persson, Mats
  5. Non-Profit Organizations in a Bureaucratic Environment By Paul A. Grout; Wendelin Schnedler
  6. The Power of Words: Why Communication fosters Cooperation and Efficiency By López-Pérez, Raúl
  7. Living in Two Neighborhoods – Social Interaction Effects in the Lab By Armin Falk; Urs Fischbacher; Simon Gaechter
  8. At Risk of Social Exclusion: A Study of Care Leavers in UK By Jamal, Mayeda
  10. Sick of Your Colleagues' Absence? By Hesselius, Patrik; Johansson, Per; Nilsson, Peter
  11. On Fragile Grounds: A Replication of Are Muslim Immigrants Different in Terms of Cultural Integration? By Arai, Mahmood; Karlsson, Jonas; Lundholm, Michael
  12. Reluctant Recyclers: Social Interaction in Responsibility Ascription By Brekke , Kjell Arne; Klipperberg, Gorm; Nyborg , Karine
  13. When NGOs Go Global: Competition on International Markets for Development Donations By Gani Aldashev; Thierry Verdier

  1. By: Yann Bramoullé; Brian W. Rogers
    Abstract: Homophily, the tendency of linked agents to have similar characteristics, is an important feature of social networks. We present a new model of network formation that allows the linking process to depend on individuals types and study the impact of such a bias on the network structure. Our main results fall into three categories: (i) we compare the distributions of intra- and inter-group links in terms of stochastic dominance, (ii) we show how, at the group level, homophily depends on the groups size and the details of the formation process, and (iii) we understand precisely the determinants of local homophily at the individual level. Especially, we find that popular individuals have more diverse networks. Our results are supported empirically in the AddHealth data looking at networks of social connections between boys and girls.
    Keywords: Social networks, Network formation, Homophily, Diversity
    JEL: A14 D85 I21
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Goel, Deepti; Lang, Kevin
    Abstract: We show that among workers whose network is weaker than formal (nonnetwork) channels, those finding a job through the network should have higher wages than those finding a job through formal channels. Moreover, this wage differential is decreasing in network strength. We test these implications using a survey of recent immigrants into Canada. At least at the lower end of an individual’s wage distribution above his reservation wage, finding a network job is associated with higher wages for those with weak networks, and the interaction between network strength and finding a job through the network is negative as predicted.
    Keywords: Immigrants, Job Search, Social Networks, Strong Ties
    JEL: J61 J64 J30
    Date: 2009–02–02
  3. By: Lindbeck, Assar (Institute for International Economic Studies); Palme, Mårten (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University); Persson, Mats (Institute for International Economic Studies)
    Abstract: Is the sickness absence of an individual affected by the sickness absence behavior of the neighbors? Well-known methodological problems, in particular the so-called reflection problem, arise when trying to answer such questions about group effects. Based on data from Sweden, we adopt several different approaches to solve these problems. Regardless of the approach chosen, we obtain statistically significant estimates indicating that group effects are important for individual sickness absence behavior.
    Keywords: Sick-pay insurance; work absence; moral hazard; reflection problem; social norms
    JEL: H56 I38 J22 Z13
    Date: 2009–01–30
  4. By: Bruno S. Frey; David A. Savage (School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology); Benno Torgler (School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology)
    Abstract: The sinking of the Titanic in April 1912 took the lives of 68 percent of the people aboard. Who survived? It was women and children who had a higher probability of being saved, not men. Likewise, people traveling in first class had a better chance of survival than those in second and third class. British passengers were more likely to perish than members of other nations. This extreme event represents a rare case of a well-documented life and death situation where social norms were enforced. This paper shows that economic analysis can account for human behavior in such situations.
    Keywords: Decision under Pressure, Tragic Events and Disasters, Survival, Quasi-Natural Experiment, Altruism
    JEL: D63 D64 D71 D81
    Date: 2009–02–06
  5. By: Paul A. Grout; Wendelin Schnedler
    Abstract: How does the environment of an organization influence whether workers voluntarily provide effort? We study the power relationship between a non-profit unit (e.g. university department, NGO, health trust), where workers care about the result of their work, and a bureaucrat, who supplies some input to the non-profit unit, but has opportunity costs in doing so (e.g. Dean of faculty, corrupt representative, government agency). We find that marginal changes in the balance of power eventually have dramatic effects on donated labor. We also identify when strengthening the non-profit unit decreases and when it increases donated labor.
    Keywords: donated labor, intrinsic motivation, non-profit organizations, power within organizations
    JEL: J32 H11 H42 M52
    Date: 2008–09
  6. By: López-Pérez, Raúl (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.)
    Abstract: We present a game-theoretical model that accounts for abundant experimental evidence from games with non-binding communication (‘cheap talk’). It is based on two key ideas: People are conditionally averse to break norms of honesty and fairness (i.e., the emotional cost of breaking a norm is low if few people comply), and heterogeneous with regard to their concern for norms. The model explains (a) why cooperation in social dilemmas rises if players can previously announce their intended play, (b) why details of the communication protocol like the number of message senders and the order in which players communicate affect cooperation, (c) why players in sender-receiver games tend to transmit more information than a standard analysis would predict, and (d) why senders of false messages are often sanctioned if punishment is available.
    Keywords: Communication; Cooperation; Fairness; Heterogeneity; Honesty; Reciprocity; Social Norms
    JEL: C72 D01 D62 D64 Z13
    Date: 2008–11
  7. By: Armin Falk (University of Bonn); Urs Fischbacher (University of Konstanz); Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Field evidence suggests that people belonging to the same group often behave similarly, i.e., behavior exhibits social interaction effects. We conduct a laboratory experiment that avoids the identification problem present in the field and allows us to study the behavioral logic of social interaction effects. Our novel design feature is that each subject is simultaneously a member of two randomly assigned and identical groups where only members (‘neighbors’) are different. We study behavior in a coordination game with multiple equilibria and a public goods game, which has only one equilibrium in material payoffs. We speak of social interactions if the same subject at the same time makes group-specific decisions that depend on their respective neighbors’ decisions. We find that a majority of subjects exhibits social interaction effects both when the game has multiple equilibria in material payoffs and when it only has one equilibrium.
    Keywords: Social interactions, identification, experiments, coordination, cooperation
    JEL: C91 H41 K42 H26
    Date: 2009–01
  8. By: Jamal, Mayeda (Dept. of Business Administration, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper examines the experiences of socially marginalized/ excluded individuals in society when they re-enter the society after a period of being “looked after”1 by the State (by placement in either foster care or residential care homes, referred to as “Care Leavers” in UK). This group was selected for the study because “socialization” of care leavers is a major problem for the UK Government. The aim is to explore their psychological states, and in turn, examine possible link between their psychological states and socialization process after leaving care. Successful socialization is defined here as resulting in a capacity to make personally and socially beneficial decisions and judgments. The findings suggest that being in care may have a negative impact on identity development, with care leavers exhibiting low self esteem, stigmatization, low trust and low self-confidence. Negative psychological states impede socialization and enhance the risks of care-leavers becoming socially excluded.
    Keywords: Social Exclusion; Socialization; Care Leavers; Identity; Stigma
    Date: 2009–01–28
  9. By: Ahmed, Ali M. (Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO)); Salas, Osvaldo (Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO))
    Abstract: This paper examines the supernatural punishment theory. The theory postulates that religion increases cooperation because religious people fear the retributions that may follow if they do not follow the rules and norms provided by the religion. We report results for a public goods experiment conducted in India, Mexico, and Sweden. By asking participants whether they are religious or not, we study whether religiosity has an effect on voluntary cooperation in the public goods game. We found no significant behavioral differences between religious and nonreligious participants in the experiment.
    Keywords: Games; punishment theory; experiments; behavioral economics; religion
    JEL: C71 C90 D01
    Date: 2008–02–01
  10. By: Hesselius, Patrik (IFAU); Johansson, Per (IFAU); Nilsson, Peter (IFAU)
    Abstract: We utilize a large-scale randomized social experiment to identify how coworkers affect each other's effort as measured by work absence. The experiment altered the work absence incentives for half of all employees living in Göteborg, Sweden. Using administrative data we are able to recover the treatment status of all workers in more than 3,000 workplaces. We first document that employees in workplaces with a high proportion treated coworkers increase their own absence level significantly. We then examine the heterogeneity of the treatment effect in order to explore what mechanisms are underlying the peer effect. While a strong effect of having a high proportion of treated coworkers is found for the nontreated workers, no significant effects are found for the treated workers. These results suggest that pure altruistic social preferences can be ruled out as the main motivator for the behaviour of a nonnegligible proportion of the employees in our sample.
    Keywords: social interactions, employer employee data, work absence, fairness, reciprocal preferences
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2009–01
  11. By: Arai, Mahmood (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University); Karlsson, Jonas (The Institute for Social Research and SULCIS); Lundholm, Michael (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This study is a replication of "Are Muslim Immigrants Different in terms of Cultural Integration?" by Alberto Bisin, Eleonora Patacchini, Thierry Verdier and Yves Zenou, published in Journal of European Economic Association, 6, 445-456, 2008. Bisin et al. (2008) report that they have 5963 observations in their study. Using their empirical setup, we can only identify 1901 relevant observations in the original data. After removing missing values we are left with 818 observations. We cannot replicate any of their results and our estimations yield no support for their claims.
    Keywords: Religious Identity; Assimilation; Muslims; Replication Study; Reproducible Research
    JEL: A14 J15
    Date: 2008–12–19
  12. By: Brekke , Kjell Arne (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo); Klipperberg, Gorm (Colorado State University); Nyborg , Karine (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: Several studies have demonstrated that individual contributions to public goods are increasing in others’ contributions. The underlying causes for this, however, are not yet fully understood. We present a model of duty-orientation in which moral responsibility is learned through observations of others’ behavior. Since, in our model, responsibility is a burden, we hypothesize that individuals will be reluctant to accept responsibility based on uncertain information. Econometric analysis of data from a survey on households’ glass recycling indicates that perceived responsibility is a major determinant for reported recycling; that responsibility ascription is influenced by beliefs about others’ behavior; and that people are indeed reluctant to accept responsibility based on uncertain information.
    Keywords: Voluntary contributions; duty-orientation; recycling; joint FIML estimation
    JEL: D11 D12 D64 Q53
    Date: 2009–02–02
  13. By: Gani Aldashev; Thierry Verdier
    Abstract: Why many large non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are becoming multinational entities? What are the welfare implications of this integration of markets for development donations? To answer these questions, we build a simple two-country model with horizontally differentiated NGOs competing through fundraising effort. We find that NGOs become multinational if the economies of scale in fundraising are sufficiently large. In that case, national NGOs in the smaller country disappear, while some national NGOs remain in the larger country only if the difference in the countries' size is large enough. Social welfare is higher in the regime with multinationals than under autarky.
    Keywords: non-governmental organizations, charitable giving, globalization, multinational firms
    JEL: F23 L22 L31
    Date: 2008

This nep-soc issue is ©2009 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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