nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒05‒16
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Social capital and health across European countries By Bas van Groezen; Rashmi Jadoenandansing; Giacomo Pasini
  2. Blood for Social Status: Preliminary Evidence from Rural China By Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
  3. Poverty status and the impact of social networks on smallholder technology adoption in rural Ethiopia By Liverpool, Saweda Onipede. L.; Winter-Nelson, Alex
  4. Recommendation Networks and the Long Tail of Electronic Commerce By Gal Oestreicher-Singer; Arun Sundararajan
  5. How are social ties formed? : Interaction of neighborhood and individual immobility. By Yamamura, Eiji
  6. How do neighbors influence investment in social capital? : Homeownership and length of residence. By Yamamura, Eiji
  7. Marry for What: Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India By Abhijit Banerjee; Esther Duflo; Maitreesh Ghatak; Jeanne Lafortune
  8. Smoking Bans in the Presence of Social Interaction By Bauer, Christian; Lingens, Jörg
  9. On the relationship between social distance and threat By Astrid C. Buba; Natascha de Hoog
  10. Family Networks and School Enrolment: Evidence from a Randomized Social Experiment By Manuela Angelucci; Giacomo DeGiorgi; Marcos A. Rangel; Imran Rasul
  11. Supply chain coordination with information sharing in the presence of trust and trustworthiness: a behavioral model By Guido Voigt
  12. Mass Psychology in Action: Identification of Social Interaction Effects in the German Stock Market By Thomas Lux

  1. By: Bas van Groezen; Rashmi Jadoenandansing; Giacomo Pasini
    Abstract: We compare the effect of trust and civic participation on self-assessed health across ten European countries. We find that, after controlling for a rich set of socio-economic characteristics, for actual health status and for health-related behaviours, trust has a significantly positive effect on perceived health in Sweden and in Germany, but none in the other countries. Civic participation does have a positive and quite similar effect in all countries. Our conclusion is that they measure two different aspects of social capital that must be treated separately.
    Keywords: Panel Data, Wage Distribution, Inequality, Mobility
    JEL: I12 J14
    Date: 2009–04
  2. By: Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: Xi Chen acknowledges generous Doctoral Research Grant from the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell University and precious data set provided by the Development Strategy and Governance Division at IFPRI. Conference Travel Grant provided by the Department of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell is also acknowledged. We are grateful to Ravi Kanbur for invaluable comments, guidance and encouragement. This paper also benefited from helpful discussion and invaluable comments from Robert Frank, David Sahn, Marc Rockmore, and seminar participants in the Department of Economics at Cornell. Due to time limit, I have not incorporated all helpful comments and suggestions in this early draft paper. The views expressed herein and any remaining errors are the authorâs and do not represent any official agency.
    Keywords: Blood Donation, Social Status, Poverty, Inequality, Relative Deprivation, Rural China, Agricultural and Food Policy, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Demand and Price Analysis, Health Economics and Policy, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, International Development, Labor and Human Capital, Political Economy, Production Economics, Public Economics, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, Risk and Uncertainty, I32, J22, D13, D63,
    Date: 2009–05
  3. By: Liverpool, Saweda Onipede. L.; Winter-Nelson, Alex
    Abstract: Despite recent traces of economic growth, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Though about 80% of its population is engaged in agriculture, agricultural productivity remains low and extremely vulnerable to climatic conditions. The adoption and use of modern technologies is generally accepted as a potential vehicle out of poverty for many but adoption rates in the country remain low with the nature of the adoption process largely unstudied (Spielman et al, 2007). This paper studies the impact of social networks in the technology adoption process in rural Ethiopia. In particular it tests for the presence of social learning effects. In addition to geographic networks, it considers the role played by other networks with more purposeful interactions such as a householdâs friends. The study explores the differential impacts of social networks by network type, technology and the asset poverty status of households.
    Keywords: social learning, persistent poverty, technology adoption, Ethiopia, Food Security and Poverty, International Development, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, O31, O33, Q12, Q13,
    Date: 2009–04
  4. By: Gal Oestreicher-Singer (Tel Aviv University); Arun Sundararajan (New York University)
    Abstract: It has been conjectured that the peer-based recommendations associated with electronic commerce lead to a redistribution of demand from popular products or "blockbusters" to less popular or "niche" products, and that electronic markets will therefore be characterized by a "long tail" of demand and revenue. In this paper, we develop a novel method to test this conjecture and we report on results contrasting the demand distributions of books in over 200 distinct categories on Viewing each product as having a unique position in a hyperlinked network of recommendations between product that is analogous to shelf position in traditional commerce, we quantify the extent to which a product is influenced by its recommendation network position by using a variant of Google’s PageRank measure of centrality. We then associate the average level of network influence on each category with the inequality in the distribution of its demand and revenue, quantifying this inequality using the Gini coefficients derived from the category’s Lorenz curve. We establish that categories whose products are influenced more by recommendations have significantly flatter demand distributions, even after controlling for variations in average category demand, the category’s size and measures of price dispersion. Our empirical findings indicate that doubling the average influence of recommendations on a category is associated with an average increase in the relative demand for the least popular 20% of products by about 50%, and a average reduction in the relative demand for the most popular 20% by about 12%. We also show that this effect is enhanced when there is assortative mixing in the recommendation network, and in categories whose products are more evenly influenced by recommendations. The direction of these results persist across time, across both demand and revenue distributions, and across both daily and weekly demand aggregations. Our work offers new ideas for assessing the influence of networks on demand and revenue patterns in electronic commerce, and provides new empirical evidence supporting the impact of visible recommendations on the long tail of electronic commerce.
    Keywords: networks, social networks, electronic commerce, ecommerce, recommender systems, influence, gini coefficient
    JEL: D85 L14 Z13
    Date: 2009–01
  5. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: Using individual data from Japan, this paper investigates how a neighbor’s immobility is associated with individual investment in social capital. It is found that local homeownership has a positive effect on individual investment and that this effect for individual homeowners is about 2.5 times larger than for renters.
    Keywords: Social Capital; homeownership; length of residence.
    JEL: D71 Z13 R11 R23
    Date: 2009–05–09
  6. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: This paper explores how the circumstances of where a person resides is related to the degree of their investment in social capital using individual data from Japan. Controlling for unobserved area-specific fixed effects and various individual characteristics, I found; (1) Not only that homeownership and length of residence are positively related to investment in social capital, but also that rates of homeowners and long-time residents in a locality increase in individual’s investments in social capital. (2) The effects of local neighborhood homeownership and local length of residence are distinctly larger than that of an individual’s.
    Keywords: Social Capital; homeownership; length of residence
    JEL: D71 R11 R23
    Date: 2009–05–11
  7. By: Abhijit Banerjee; Esther Duflo; Maitreesh Ghatak; Jeanne Lafortune
    Abstract: This paper studies the role played by caste, education and other social and economic attributes in arranged marriages among middle-class Indians. We use a unique data set on individuals who placed matrimonial advertisements in a major newspaper, the responses they received, how they ranked them, and the eventual matches. We estimate the preferences for caste, education, beauty, and other attributes. We then compute a set of stable matches, which we compare to the actual matches that we observe in the data. We find the stable matches to be quite similar to the actual matches, suggesting a relatively frictionless marriage market. One of our key empirical findings is that there is a very strong preference for within-caste marriage. However, because both sides of the market share this preference and because the groups are fairly homogeneous in terms of the distribution of other attributes, in equilibrium, the cost of wanting to marry within-caste is low. This allows caste to remain a persistent feature of the Indian marriage market.
    JEL: D10 J12 O12
    Date: 2009–05
  8. By: Bauer, Christian; Lingens, Jörg
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the welfare effects of a public smoking ban in bars. We construct a model that captures crucial features of bar life: competing bars, social interaction, and heterogenous preferences for a smoking ban. Smokers and non-smokers simultaneously choose a bar given their preferences for meeting other people. Bars anticipate the behavior of individuals and choose the smoking regime strategically. Since the (dis)utility from smoking and social interaction are substitutes, the smoking regime is a stronger coordination device if the disutility from smoking is large. If all bars allow smoking in equilibrium, a public smoking ban enhances welfare.
    Keywords: Smoking Ban; Social Interaction; Coordination Game
    JEL: L13 I18 D61
    Date: 2009–05–04
  9. By: Astrid C. Buba (International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World, Jena, Germany); Natascha de Hoog
    Abstract: We investigated the dependence of threat perception and reaction on social distance estimation. Social identity threat was imposed within a 2x2 between subjects design, with N=163 students reading a criticising comment about their ingroup assigned to originate from one of two possible outgroups. The participants completed parts of the scale Overlap of self, ingroup and outgroup (OSIO, Schubert and Otten, 2002) as a measure of social distance either before or after the threat manipulation. Results show significantly differing social distance estimations as a reaction towards the threatening comment depending on the criticising outgroup. The implications of these findings and the possibility of social distancing being another kind of defensive mechanism towards social identity threat are discussed.
    Keywords: social identity threat, criticism, distance
    JEL: D74
    Date: 2009–05–05
  10. By: Manuela Angelucci; Giacomo DeGiorgi; Marcos A. Rangel; Imran Rasul
    Abstract: We present evidence on whether and how a household's behavior is influenced by the presence and characteristics of its extended family. Using household panel data from the Progresa program in rural Mexico, we exploit information on the paternal and maternal surnames of heads and spouses in conjunction with the Spanish naming convention to identify the inter and intra generational family links of each household to others in the same village. We then exploit the randomized research design of the Progresa evaluation data to identify whether the treatment effects of Progresa transfers on secondary school enrolment vary according to the presence and characteristics of extended family. We find that Progresa only raises secondary enrolment among households that are embedded in a family network. Eligible but isolated households do not respond. The mechanism through which the extended family influences household schooling choices is the redistribution of resources within the family network from eligibles that receive de facto unconditional cash transfers from Progresa, towards eligibles on the margin of enrolling their children into secondary school.
    JEL: I21 J12 O12
    Date: 2009–05
  11. By: Guido Voigt (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: The strategic use of private information causes efficiency losses in traditional principal-agent settings. One stream of research states that these efficiency losses cannot be overcome if all agents use their private information strategically. Yet, another stream of research highlights the importance of communication, trust and trustworthiness in supply chain management. The underlying work links the concepts of communication, trust and trustworthiness to a traditional principal-agent setting in a supply chain environment. Surprisingly, it can be shown that communication and trust can actually lead to increasing efficiency losses although there is a substantial level of trustworthiness.
    Date: 2009–03
  12. By: Thomas Lux
    Abstract: We use weekly survey data on short-term and medium-term sentiment of German investors to estimate the parameters of a stochastic model of opinion dynamics. The bivariate nature of our data set also allows us to explore the interaction between the two hypothesized opinion formation processes, while consideration of the simultaneous weekly changes of the stock index DAX enables us to study the influence of sentiment on returns within a behavioral model of boundedly rational traders. Technically, we extend the maximum likelihood framework for parameter estimation in agent-based models introduced by Lux (2009a) by generalizing it to bivariate and trivariate settings. As it turns out, short-term sentiment is governed by strong social interaction with abrupt changes of direction while medium-term sentiment is a slowly moving process with more moderate social interaction. The trivariate model can potentially predict stock returns out-of-sample on the base of medium-run sentiment at least if an apparently spurious influence from short-run sentiment is discarded
    Keywords: Opinion formation, social interaction, investor sentiment
    JEL: G12 D84
    Date: 2009–04

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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