nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒08‒16
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Neighbourhood social capital improves individual health quality of life in a national sample from Wales By Tampubolon, Gindo
  2. Theory of Values By Andreas Georgiadis; Alan Manning
  3. Social capital and the viability of stakeholder-oriented firms: Evidence from Norwegian savings banks By Charlotte Ostergaard; Ibolya Schindele; Bent Vale
  4. Understanding Social Inclusion, Social Cohesion and Social Capital By Robert Oxoby
  5. Social Effects in a Multi-Agent Investment Game. An Experimental Analysis By Luigi Mittone; Matteo Ploner
  6. Moral Judgments in Social Dilemmas: How Bad is Free Riding? By Robin Cubitt; Michalis Drouvelis; Simon Gachter; Ruslan Kabalin
  7. The Effects of County Population Diversity on Contributions, Membership, and Adherents in the Presbyterian Religion and on Adherence in Mainline Protestant Religions By Douglas Coate; James VanderHoff
  8. The money-happiness relationship in transition countries: evidence from Albania By Leonardo Becchetti; Sara Savastano

  1. By: Tampubolon, Gindo
    Abstract: Neighbourhood social capital is often claimed to improve health but in Britain this claim finds little support. I examine the effects of neighbourhood social capital on the Welsh health quality of life in 2007 using instrumental variable estimator. By extending the influential Grossman health production model and borrowing from the Blume-Brock-Durlauf statistical mechanics of social interactions model, suitable instruments for identification are readily obtained. Instruments (neighbourhood ethnic diversity and residence length) were collected from separate survey. Neighbourhood social capital and deprivation measures were likewise independently gathered from measures of individual socioeconomic status and health (SF-36). In the national sample there are 13,557 respondents residing in 1,152 neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood deprivations invariably reduce individual health quality of life but neighbourhood social capital more than compensate for this. Because the instruments are strong enough to identify the effects, I show that friendly neighbourhood and friendly neighbours, sense of community in the neighbourhood, trust, ready exchange of information and goods, and sense of belonging improve residents' health. Public health practitioners have these measures as additional tools in their box when formulating policy to improve public health.
    Keywords: neighbourhood social capital; SF-36; individual quality of life; physical health
    JEL: D71 I12 I18
    Date: 2009–08–12
  2. By: Andreas Georgiadis; Alan Manning
    Abstract: Economists have a well-developed theory of value but the theory of why people hold thevalues they do is rudimentary at best. In spite of the fact that it is common to argue thatvalues are important, most work on values is normative and the positive theory of values isrelatively under- developed. In this paper we propose a simple yet general way to think aboutvalues - they are about how one trades-off one own's utility against that of others - and arguethat we can draw on the large literature on pro-social behavior for hypotheses on how peoplewill choose values. Then, using data from the UK's Citizenship Survey we show howmodels of self-interest, fairness, reciprocity and identity, can explain many of the patternsthat we observe in the data across a wide variety of values.
    Keywords: Values, Pro-Social Behaviour
    JEL: D63 Z13
    Date: 2009–07
  3. By: Charlotte Ostergaard (Norwegian School of Management and Norges Bank); Ibolya Schindele (Norwegian School of Management); Bent Vale (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))
    Abstract: Stakeholder oriented governance systems are often thought to hamper efficiency. We show that social capital improves the viability of stakeholder-oriented firms in competitive markets. Studying exits from the population of Norwegian savings banks after deregulations, we find that banks located in communities with high social capital have a higher probability of survival. We propose that social capital facilitates collective decision-making, ensuring that banks internalize the preferences of the community in return for continued community patronage. Consistently, we find that in high social capital areas banks operate with lower interest rate margins, lower returns on assets, and lower loan losses.
    Keywords: Political economics, Strategic capital accumulation, Identifying popularity shocks
    JEL: E62 H40 H72
    Date: 2009–08–11
  4. By: Robert Oxoby
    Abstract: The topics of social capital, social cohesion, and social inclusion are increasingly gaining interest in economics, sociology, and politics, particularly in regards to addressing poverty and designing related policies. Here, we seek to develop the connections and interdependencies between these related concepts. We offer a framework for understanding the differences between these concepts and how they fit together in individual decision making.
    Date: 2009–01–22
  5. By: Luigi Mittone; Matteo Ploner
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate social effects in a principal-agent setting with incomplete contracts. The strategic interaction scheme is based on the well-known Investment Game (Berg et al., 1995). In our setting four agents (i.e., trustees) and one principal (i.e., trustor) are interacting and the access to choices of peers in the group of trustees is experimentally manipulated. Overall, subjects are positively influenced by peer's choices they observe. However, the positive interaction between choices is not strong enough to raise the reciprocity of those observing at the same level of those whose choices are observed.
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Robin Cubitt; Michalis Drouvelis; Simon Gachter; Ruslan Kabalin
    Abstract: In the last thirty years economists and other social scientists investigated people's normative views on principles of distributive justice. Here we study people's normative views in social dilemmas, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance. Using insights from moral philosophy and psychology we provide an analysis of the morality of free riding. We use experimental survey methods to investigate people's moral judgments empirically. We vary others' contributions, the framing ("give-some" vs. "take-some") and whether contributions are simultaneous or sequential. We find that moral judgments depend strongly on others' behaviour; and that failing to give is condemned more strongly than withdrawing all support.
    Keywords: moral judgments, framing effects, public goods experiments, free riding
  7. By: Douglas Coate; James VanderHoff
    Abstract: In this research we use data from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2005-2007 to study the effects of race and ethnic diversity in the county on religious membership and religious giving in Presbyterian congregations. We also use data from the Religious Congregations Membership Study 2000 to study the effects of race and ethnic diversity in the county on religious adherence in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in other mainline Protestant denominations. We have found that the percent of the county population non white is positively and significantly related to contributions per member by Presbyterians and to membership in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at the congregation level and at the county level in multivariate statistical models. We have also found these results to hold at the county level for religious adherence in mainline Protestant denominations. These results are at odds with the view that increases in population diversity at the county level may lead to a decline in religious participation.
    Keywords: religious membership, religious giving, population diversity, social capital
    JEL: Z12 Z13
    Date: 2009–07
  8. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Sara Savastano (University of Rome Tor Vergata)
    Abstract: With an empirical analysis on a panel of individuals living in a transition country (Albania) we document that the impact of money on happiness does not depend only on the pecuniary outcome but also from aspirations and conditions leading to its determination. Additional factors which matter are the self perceived economic status and the share earned from remittances (and, more weakly, from social assistance). By looking at different sides of the phenomenon we find that these factors affect levels, changes in income and the probability of “being frustrated achievers”. Finally, differently from what happens in developed countries, higher income levels are negatively and not positively correlated with the probability of frustrated achievement supporting the hypothesis that individuals in transition countries are not in the upper side of a concave happiness-income relationship.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, remittances, economic status
    Date: 2009–08

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