nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒03‒07
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Can Integrity Replace Institutions? Theory and Evidence By Gilad Aharonovitz; Nathan Skuza; Faysal Fahs
  2. Partisan Control, Media Bias, and Viewer Responses: Evidence from Berlusconi's Italy By Ruben Durante; Brian Knight
  3. Social Networks and Decision Making: Women’s Participation in Household Decisions By Kannan, Srinivasan
  4. Is the Hand of God Involved in Human Cooperation? An Experimental Examination of the Supernatural Punishment Theory By Ahmed, Ali; Salas, Osvaldo
  5. Importance of Global Co-innovation Networks: A TCS Case Study By Aneesh Zutshi
  6. Reasons behind public goods provision By M. Raimondi
  7. Low fertility and long run growth in an economy with a large public sector By Zamac, Jovan; Hallberg, Daniel; Lindh, Thomas

  1. By: Gilad Aharonovitz; Nathan Skuza; Faysal Fahs (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)
    Abstract: Institutions are important for proper economic performance, but can be somewhat replaced by trust or other social norms. This study shows that institutions and trust can be replaced by integrity of the individual agents in the economy, regardless of any social arrangement. We construct a model of a transactions-based economy in which transactions are preceded by contracts, and show that any one of (1) institutions, (2) trust, or (3) integrity, can foster economic growth, while the absence of all three will lead to economic decay. The model also predicts that in the absence of institution and trust, dishonest agents may gain higher payoffs than honest agents. We construct data of economic performance of different social groups in Lebanon, measure integrity and other values of these groups, and support the latter conclusion with this data.
    Keywords: economic development, institutions, integrity, Lebanon, social norms, trust.
    JEL: A13 C73 E19 O43
    Date: 2008–12
  2. By: Ruben Durante; Brian Knight
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of partisan control of the media on news content and viewership by consumers with differing ideologies. We use data from Italy, where the main private television network is owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of the center-right coalition, and the public television corporation is largely controlled by the ruling coalition. Our first finding is that when, following the 2001 national elections, the control of the government switched from the center-left to the center-right, news content on public television shifted to the right. Second, we find evidence that viewers responded to these changes by modifying their choice of news programs. Right-leaning viewers increased their propensity to watch public channels which, even after the change, remained to the left of private channels. Furthermore, some left-wing viewers reacted by switching from the main public channel to another public channel that was controlled by the left during both periods. In line with these shifts in viewership, we also find evidence of an increase in trust in public television among right-wing viewers and a corresponding decrease among left-wing ones. Finally, we show that this behavioral response, which tended to shift ideological exposure to the left, significantly, though only partially, offset the movement of public news content to the right.
    JEL: D7 H0
    Date: 2009–03
  3. By: Kannan, Srinivasan
    Abstract: Decision making is always been an important in social setting. For understanding the process of decision making it is important to understand as to how people make decisions and the factors influence the decisions. Studies (Srinivasan and Sharan 2005, Pescosolido, 1992) show that decisions are not made in isolation but they are the products of influence and confluence of social correlates. These studies emphasize that the decisions are not made in isolation but in consultation with other members. This raises an important question of how individual’s choices no longer of his or her own but socially constructed. This emphasizes how individuals consult with others while making decisions. From this it clear that the matters relating to health are also decided in consultation with the other members of the community. From this we can understand how decision making is important in a family setting for an individual. Literatures on social network (Srinivasan and Sharan 2005) have suggested the importance of social interaction on health decisions. They also suggest social networks help the individuals to learn to handle problematic situations. In National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3)(2005-06), under “Women’s empowerment and demographic and health outcomes” discussed the importance of wife’s participation in household decision making. According to NFHS-3, it is important to study the above aspect which will help in understanding the status and empowerment of women in society and within their households. It is thus critical to promote change in reproductive behaviour. This reminds the importance of Social Network by Bott(1957).According Bott Social Network is conjugal role relationships. According to her the degree of segregation in the role relationship of husband and wife varies directly with the connectedness of the family’s social network. The more connected the network, the greater the degree of segregation between the roles of husband and wife and vice versa.
    Keywords: Health Management; Women; Family; Health seeking behaviour
    JEL: D70
    Date: 2009–03–04
  4. By: Ahmed, Ali (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; Behavioural Economics; Religion
    JEL: C71 C90 D01
    Date: 2008–03–10
  5. By: Aneesh Zutshi (IET, FCT-Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
    Abstract: Today all kinds of innovations and research work is done by partnerships of competent entities each having some specialized skills. Like the development of the global economy, global innovation partnerships have grown considerably and form the basis of most of the sophisticated innovations today. To further streamline and simplify such cooperation, several innovation networks have been formed, both at local and global levels. This paper discusses the different types of innovations and how cooperation can benefit innovation in terms of pooling of resources and sharing of risks. One example of an open global co-innovation network promoted by Tata Consultancy Services, the TCS COIN is taken as a case. It enables venture capitalists, consultants, research agencies, companies and universities form nodes of the network so that each entity can play a meaningful role in the innovation network. Further, two innovation projects implemented using the COIN are discussed. Innovation Networks like these could form the basis of a unique global innovation network, which is not owned by any company and is used by innovation partners globally to collaborate and conduct research and development.
    Keywords: innovation partnerships; co-innovation network
    JEL: D85 L14 L22
    Date: 2009–01
  6. By: M. Raimondi
    Abstract: In order to examine the role of non-economically measurable factors into the models of voluntary provision of public goods, Experimental Economics showed two systematic findings: (a) in early rounds of game, individual contributions are surprisingly high and increasing, but they tend to decrease progressively for all the agents and to reach a level of cooperation close to zero and (b) complete free riding is never observed. In explaining these evidences, experimental economists have pointed out the importance of factors such as kindness, confusion and strategic cooperation and most laboratory experiments have used clever designs to control for particular factors in order to isolate the effects of others. However, attempts to disentangle and measure the relevant variables of voluntary cooperation are partially and mainly realised comparing pairs of variables, which leaves one of the three hypotheses unexplained. In particular, there are at least two aspects left to be explained: (1) which has more influence in determining the level of contributions: kindness or confusion? (2) What is the role of strategic cooperation? Earlier experiments appear not able to include kindness, confusion and strategic cooperation in the same model and it seems to be very important to separate strategic cooperation from other altruistic motivations. In this work I aim at providing evidence on the way that kindness, confusion and strategic cooperation all affect contributions and to discuss new findings in the measurement and in the disentanglement of these variables made by using a new experimental design with the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism (VCM). I will adopt the same approach as Andreoni (1995), subtracting one component in each treatment and leaving other components as reasonable (and measurable) explanations for cooperation.
    Keywords: Experimental Economics; Social Dilemmas; Collective Action; Public Goods
    JEL: C92 D64 D80 H41
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Zamac, Jovan (Institute for Future Studies); Hallberg, Daniel (Institute for Future Studies); Lindh, Thomas (Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO))
    Abstract: Recently it has been suggested that low fertility countries may be caught in a trap that is hard to get out of. One important mechanism in such a trap would be social interaction and its effect on the ideal family size. Such social interaction mechanisms are hard to capture in formal models, therefore we use an agent based simulation model to investigate the issue. In our experimental setup a stable growth and population path is calibrated to Swedish data and using the Swedish social policy setup. The model is provoked into a fertility trap by increasing relative child costs linked to positive growth. Even rather large increases in child benefits are then insufficient to get out of the trap. However, the small number of children temporarily enables the economy to grow faster for several decades. Removing the adaptation of social norms turns out to disarm the trap.
    Keywords: Low fertility trap; Social norms relative income; Economic growth
    JEL: J13 O40
    Date: 2008–12–07

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