nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒08‒22
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Caste and Punishment: The Legacy of Caste Culture in Norm Enforcement By Hoff, Karla; Kshetramade, Mayuresh; Fehr, Ernst
  2. Neighbourhood social capital and individual mental health By Tampubolon, Gindo
  3. Trustworthiness and economic performance By Breuer, Janice Boucher; McDermott, John
  4. Aging, religion, and health By Angus S. Deaton
  5. Intergenerational Relationships and Union Stability in Fragile Families By Robin S. Högnäs; Marcia J. Carlson
  6. Gendering models of leading academic performance (LAP): The role of social identity, prototypicality and social identity performance in female academic careers. By Aïcha Serghini Idrissi; Patricia Garcia-Prieto
  7. Immigrant Self-Employment: Does Intermarriage Matter? By Georgarakos, Dimitris; Tatsiramos, Konstantinos
  8. Bargaining and social structure By Edoardo Gallo
  9. Does Culture Affect Unemployment? Evidence from the Röstigraben By Beatrix Brügger; Rafael Lalive; Josef Zweimüller
  10. A Start for Mild Liberalization? Building Civil Society through Co-operative Dynamics in China By Li Zhao
  11. How universal is happiness? By Veenhoven, Ruut
  12. Cultural neuroeconomics of intertemporal choice By Takahashi, Taiki; Hadzibeganovic, Tarik; Cannas, Sergio; Makino, Takaki; Fukui, Hiroki; Kitayama, Shinobu
  13. Life Satisfaction By Arie Kapteyn; James P. Smith; Arthur Van Soest

  1. By: Hoff, Karla (World Bank); Kshetramade, Mayuresh (affiliation not available); Fehr, Ernst (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Well-functioning groups enforce social norms that restrain opportunism, but the social structure of a society may encourage or inhibit norm enforcement. Here we study how the exogenous assignment to different positions in an extreme social hierarchy – the caste system – affects individuals' willingness to punish violations of a cooperation norm. Although we control for individual wealth, education, and political participation, low caste individuals exhibit a much lower willingness to punish norm violations that hurt members of their own caste, suggesting a cultural difference across caste status in the concern for members of one's own community. The lower willingness to punish may inhibit the low caste's ability to sustain collective action and so may contribute to its economic vulnerability.
    Keywords: social norms, informal sanctions, third party punishment, endogenous social preferences, social exclusion, collective action, caste
    JEL: D02 D64
    Date: 2009–08
  2. By: Tampubolon, Gindo
    Abstract: Neighbourhood social capital is often claimed benecial for health, yet evidence of this contextual eect in the UK has been thin. To examine this eect, I draw upon Grossman health production model and Blume-Brock-Durlauf social interaction model underpinning the effects of neighbourhood social capital on individual health. This study uses two most recent independent surveys on neighbourhood social capital and on individual mental health in Wales. Both are linked based on neighbourhood. I nd that many forms of neighbourhood social capital, measured with widely used questions, improve resident's mental health (SF36). Public health practitioners have these measures as additional tools to draw upon in formulating public health policy.
    Keywords: social capital; SF36; quality of life
    JEL: I12 I18 Z13
    Date: 2009–08–13
  3. By: Breuer, Janice Boucher; McDermott, John
    Abstract: Intrinsically trustworthy agents never cheat. A society's willingness to trust and the quality of its institutions have their origins in the intrinsic trustworthiness of its citizens. Trustworthiness is the basis for maximizing output in economic exchange and in explaining differences in standards of living around the world. We measure intrinsic trustworthiness with a question from the World Values Survey and estimate its effect using a sample of 60 countries. We find that trustworthiness is important for output per capita and that the effect of trust is likely to come from trustworthiness.
    Keywords: trustworthiness; trust; institutions; output per capita
    JEL: O43 Z13
    Date: 2009–03
  4. By: Angus S. Deaton
    Abstract: Durkheim’s famous study of suicide is a precursor of a large contemporary literature that investigates the links between religion and health. The topic is particularly germane for the health of women and of the elderly, who are much more likely to be religious. In this paper, I use data from the Gallup World Poll to study the within and between country relationships between religiosity, age, and gender, as well as the effects of religiosity on a range of health measures and health-related behaviors. The main contribution of the current study comes from the coverage and richness of the data, which allow me to use nationally representative samples to study the correlates of religion within and between more than 140 countries using more than 300,000 observations. It is almost universally true that the elderly and women are more religious, and I find evidence in favor of a genuine aging effect, not simply a cohort effect associated with secularization. As in previous studies, it is not clear why women are so much more religious than men. In most countries, religious people report better health; they say they have more energy, that their health is better, and that they experience less pain. Their social lives and personal behaviors are also healthier; they are more likely to be married, to have supportive friends, they are more likely to report being treated with respect, they have greater confidence in the healthcare and medical system and they are less likely to smoke. But these effects do not all hold in all countries, and they tend to be stronger for men than for women.
    JEL: I10 Z12
    Date: 2009–08
  5. By: Robin S. Högnäs (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Marcia J. Carlson (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Abstract: Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=2,648), we examine the association between intergenerational family relationships and the union stability of married and unmarried parents over five years after a baby’s birth. Our results show that more amiable relationships between fathers and the baby’s maternal grandparents are associated with a greater likelihood of marriage, and the focal child’s spending more time with their paternal grandparents is linked with cohabitation. Children’s greater contact with maternal grandparents is associated with diminished union stability, although this result is not robust to methods that better address selection. Our findings underscore the importance of considering broader social contexts for understanding contemporary patterns of union formation and dissolution among parents with children.
    Keywords: Fragile Families, Intergenerational Relationships, Union Stability
    Date: 2009–07
  6. By: Aïcha Serghini Idrissi (Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.); Patricia Garcia-Prieto (Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.)
    Abstract: In this paper we argue that Leading Academic Performance (LAP) expectations in universities are gendered, hindering female academic leadership. Integrating concepts from social identity theory of leadership, prototypicality, and social identity performance we describe how evaluations of female academic performance are shaped by gender social identity negatively affecting the career advancement of female faculty. We then illustrate how female academics can perform their academic and/or female social identities in order to be considered as leading academic performers.
    Date: 2009–08
  7. By: Georgarakos, Dimitris (Goethe University Frankfurt); Tatsiramos, Konstantinos (IZA)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of a native spouse on the transitions into and out of entrepreneurship of male immigrants in the U.S. We find that those married to a native are less likely to start up a business compared to those married to an immigrant. This finding is robust when the endogeneity of being married to a native is taken into account. We also show that immigrants married to a native are significantly less likely to exit from entrepreneurship compared to their counterparts who are married to an immigrant. Our results point to an interesting asymmetric role of being intermarried in deciding to become an entrepreneur and for survival in entrepreneurship, which is consistent with a network effect. On the one hand, intermarriage reduces the chance of starting up a business possibly because better access to local networks can help transitions into other forms of employment (e.g. paid employment). On the other hand, superior access to local networks through marriage to a native spouse facilitates business survival.
    Keywords: business ownership, migration, native spouse, social networks
    JEL: J12 J15 J61
    Date: 2009–08
  8. By: Edoardo Gallo
    Abstract: This paper presents a bargaining model between individuals belonging to different groups where the equilibrium outcome depends on the communication network within each group. Belonging to a group gives an informational advantage: connections help to gather information about past transactions and this information can be used to make more accurate demands in future bargaining rounds. In the long-term there is a unique stochastically stable equilibruim which depends on the peripheral or least connected individuals in each group. Comparative statistics shows that a denser and more homogeneous network allows members of a group to obtain a better deal. An empirical analysis of the observed price differential between Asian and white buyers in New York’s Fulton fish market is consistent with these predictions. An extension explores an alternative set-up where buyers and sellers belong to the same communication network: if the network is regular and the agents are homogeneous then the equilibrium division in 50-50.
    Keywords: Network, Noncooperative bargaining, Core-periphery networks, Fulton fish market, 50-50 division.
    JEL: C73 C78 D83
    Date: 2009
  9. By: Beatrix Brügger; Rafael Lalive; Josef Zweimüller
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of culture in shaping unemployment outcomes. The empir- ical analysis is based on local comparisons across a language barrier in Switzerland. This Röstigraben separates cultural groups, but neither labor markets nor political jurisdictions. Local contrasts across the language border identify the role of culture for unemployment. Our findings indicate that differences in culture explain differences in unemployment dura- tion on the order of 20 %. Moreover, we find that horizontal transmission of culture is more important than vertical transmission of culture and that culture is about as important as strong changes to the benefit duration.
    Keywords: culture, cultural transmission, unemployment duration, regional unemployment
    JEL: J21 J64 Z10
    Date: 2009–07
  10. By: Li Zhao (HIVA, Catholic University of Leuven)
    Abstract: This paper aims to understand the society-state relationship in China, by exploring this dynamics with other types of organizations, i.e. civil society organizations with economic objectives. The dynamics of co-operatives can influence and interact with civil society dynamics. In this sense, this paper presents the evolution of civil society in China by identifying the causal mechanisms of co-operatives’ development and the conditions needed for them to develop. This causal mechanisms are set within the context of one historical process evolving with path dependency. Using this theoretical framework, it further presents the empirical observation. The findings of the paper are that economic development shaped the new co-operative movement in China; this process was different from the former revolutionary communalist co-operative movement; like their counterparts from the liberal democratic tradition, new co-operatives participated in the market economy, developed in an evolutionary and peaceful way, had great respect for private property and especially, were self-motivated and voluntary in nature. The co-operative movement in China can thus be considered as a mild liberalization within civil society’s sphere. Furthermore, its spillover effect would be seen as the effect of enhancing the role of civil society as a critical dialogue partner with the state. The originality lies in its systematic analysis examining the conditions that underpin this dynamics, thus filling the academic gaps in the study of society-state relationship in another way different from the popularly-used perspective which examines the voluntary and non-profit nature of civil society organizations and excludes the economic spheres within civil society.
    Keywords: civil society dynamics, new co-operative movement, China, path dependency
    JEL: L31 N45 N55 O19 P13 P26 P32
    Date: 2009–08
  11. By: Veenhoven, Ruut
    Abstract: There is a longstanding discussion on whether happiness is culturally relative or not. The following questions are addressed in that context: 1) Do we all assess how much we like our life? 2) Do we appraise our life on the same grounds? 3) Are the conditions for happiness similar for all of us? 4) Are the consequences of happiness similar in all cultures? 5) Do we all seek happiness? 6) Do we seek happiness in similar ways? 7) Do we enjoy life about equally much? The available data suggest that all humans tend to assess how much they like their life. The evaluation draws on affective experience, which is linked to gratification of universal human needs and on cognitive comparison which is framed by cultural standards of the good life. The overall appraisal seems to depend more on the former, than on the latter source of information. Conditions for happiness appear to be quite similar across the world and so are the consequences of enjoying life or not. There is more cultural variation in the valuation of happiness and in beliefs about conditions for happiness. The greatest variation is found in how happy people are.
    Keywords: happiness; life satisfaction; cultural relativism; human nature; utilitarianism
    JEL: Z10 I00 D60
    Date: 2008–10–13
  12. By: Takahashi, Taiki; Hadzibeganovic, Tarik; Cannas, Sergio; Makino, Takaki; Fukui, Hiroki; Kitayama, Shinobu
    Abstract: According to theories of cultural neuroscience, Westerners and Easterners may have distinct styles of cognition (e.g., different allocation of attention). Previous research has shown that Westerners and Easterners tend to utilize analytical and holistic cognitive styles, respectively. On the other hand, little is known regarding the cultural differences in neuroeconomic behavior. For instance, economic decisions may be affected by cultural differences in neurocomputational processing underlying attention; however, this area of neuroeconomics has been largely understudied. In the present paper, we attempt to bridge this gap by considering the links between the theory of cultural neuroscience and neuroeconomic theory of the role of attention in intertemporal choice. We predict that (i) Westerners are more impulsive and inconsistent in intertemporal choice in comparison to Easterners, and (ii) Westerners more steeply discount delayed monetary losses than Easterners. We examine these predictions by utilizing a novel temporal discounting model based on Tsallis' statistics (i.e. a q-exponential model). Our preliminary analysis of temporal discounting of gains and losses by Americans and Japanese confirmed the predictions from the cultural neuroeconomic theory. Future study directions, employing computational modeling via neural networks, are briefly outlined and discussed.
    Keywords: Cultural neuroscience; neuroeconomics; intertemporal choice; attention allocation; Tsallis’ statistics; neural networks
    JEL: C63 C02 Z19 C49 C91
    Date: 2009
  13. By: Arie Kapteyn; James P. Smith; Arthur Van Soest
    Abstract: The authors analyze the determinants of global life satisfaction in two countries (The Netherlands and the U.S.), by using both self-reports and responses to a battery of vignette questions. They find global life satisfaction of happiness is well-described by four domains: job or daily activities, social contacts and family, health, and income. Among the four domains, social contacts and family have the highest impact on global life satisfaction, followed by job and daily activities and health. Income has the lowest impact. As in other work, they find that American response styles differ from the Dutch in that Americans are more likely to use the extremes of the scale (either very satisfied or very dissatisfied) than the Dutch, who are more inclined to stay in the middle of the scale. Although for both Americans and the Dutch, income is the least important determinant of global life satisfaction, it is more important in the U.S. than in The Netherlands. Indeed life satisfaction varies substantially more with income in the U.S. than in The Netherlands.
    Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, vignettes, reporting bias
    JEL: I31 J28 D31
    Date: 2009–07

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