nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒11‒14
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Will growth and technology destroy social interaction? The inverted U-shape hypothesis By Antoci Angelo; Sabatini Fabio; Sodini Mauro
  2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Migration, Entrepreneurship and Social Capital By Wahba, Jackline; Zenou, Yves
  3. Historical Trust Levels Predict Current Welfare State Design By Bergh, Andreas; Bjørnskov, Christian
  4. How do neighbors influence investment in social capital? : Homeownership and length of residence By Yamamura, Eiji
  5. Adam Smith and Moral Knowledge By Konow, James
  6. Household Behavior and Social Norms : A Conjugal Contract Model By Elisabeth Cudeville; Magali Recoules
  7. How norms can generate conflict By Fabian Winter; Heiko Rauhut; Dirk Helbing
  8. Oppositional Identities and Employment for Ethnic Minorities: Evidence from England By Battu, Harminder; Zenou, Yves
  9. Social Interaction, Co-Worker Altruism, and Incentives By Dur, Robert; Sol, Joeri
  10. Extended Family Networks in Rural Mexico: A Descriptive Analysis By Angelucci, Manuela; De Giorgi, Giacomo; Rangel, Marcos A.; Rasul, Imran
  11. Social Networking: Changing the way we communicate and do business. By Jones, Kevin
  12. Social Interaction Effects in Disability Pension Participation: Evidence from Plant Downsizing By Rege, Mari; Telle, Kjetil; Votruba, Mark
  13. Individual-Level Determinants of Religious Practice and Belief in Catholic Europe By Conway, Brian
  14. Group Reputation and the Endogenous Group Formation By Kim, Young Chul
  15. Village Economies and the Structure of Extended Family Networks By Angelucci, Manuela; De Giorgi, Giacomo; Rangel, Marcos A.; Rasul, Imran
  16. How do the social norms sustain? By Singh, Indervir

  1. By: Antoci Angelo; Sabatini Fabio; Sodini Mauro
    Abstract: This paper addresses two hot topics of the contemporary debate, social capital and economic growth. Our theoretical analysis sheds light on decisive but so far neglected issues: how does social capital accumulate over time? Which is the relationship between social capital, technical progress and economic growth in the long run? The analysis shows that the economy may be attracted by alternative steady states, depending on the initial social capital endowments and cultural exogenous parameters representing the relevance of social interaction and trust in well-being and production. When material consumption and relational goods are substitutable, the choice to devote more and more time to private activities may lead the economy to a “social poverty trap”, where the cooling of human relations causes a progressive destruction of the entire stock of social capital. In this case, the relationship of social capital with technical progress is described by an inverted U-shaped curve. However, the possibility exists for the economy to follow a virtuous trajectory where the stock of social capital endogenously and unboundedly grows.
    Keywords: Relational goods, social capital, economic growth, technical change
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2009–10
  2. By: Wahba, Jackline (University of Southampton); Zenou, Yves (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate whether return migrants are more likely to become entrepreneurs than non-migrants. We develop a theoretical search model that puts forward the trade off faced by returnees since overseas migration provides an opportunity for human and physical capital accumulation but, at the same time, may lead to a loss of social capital back home. We test the predictions of the model using data from Egypt. We find that, even after controlling for the endogeneity of the temporary migration decision, an overseas returnee is more likely to become an entrepreneur than a non-migrant. Although migrants lose their original social networks whilst overseas, savings and human capital accumulation acquired abroad over-compensate for this loss. Our results also suggest that social networks have no significant impact on becoming entrepreneurs for returnees but matter for non-migrants.
    Keywords: social capital, entrepreneurship, selection, savings
    JEL: L26 O12 O15
    Date: 2009–11
  3. By: Bergh, Andreas (The Ratio Institute and Lund University); Bjørnskov, Christian (Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University)
    Abstract: Using cross-sectional data for 76 countries, we apply instrumental variable techniques based on pronoun drop, temperature and monarchies to demonstrate that historical trust levels predict several indicators of current welfare state design, including universalism and high levels of regulatory freedom. We argue that high levels of trust and trustworthiness are necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for societies to develop successful universal welfare states that would otherwise be highly vulnerable to free riding and fraudulent behavior. Our results do not exclude positive feedback from welfare state universalism to individual trust, although we claim that the important causal link runs from historically trust levels to current welfare state design.
    Keywords: Social trust; Welfare State
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2009–10–29
  4. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: This paper uses individual data from Japan to explore how the circumstances of where a person resides is related to the degree of their investment in social capital. 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 an 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: 2009–11–05
  5. By: Konow, James
    Abstract: This paper examines the contribution of The Theory of Moral Sentiments to the study of how we acquire moral knowledge. In Smith, this is associated with the moral judgment of an impartial spectator, a hypothetical ideal conjured in the imagination of an agent. This imagined spectator has the properties of impartiality, information and sympathy. I argue Smith develops this construct in the context of personal ethics, i.e., as a guide to moral conduct in personal relationships. There are limitations, however, to this model for personal ethics, as acknowledged by Smith himself and suggested by subsequent social science findings. Moreover, this model does not necessarily extend to social ethics, i.e., to moral judgment in less personal economic and social interactions, such as firms, industries and governments. Hence, I propose modifying the spectator model in light of modern social science methods and of Smith’s own insights to address its limitations for personal ethics and to provide it with a foundation for social ethics. The proposed approach is based on a quasi-spectator, i.e., the empirical analysis of the moral views of real spectators whose properties approximate those of the ideal spectator. A review of quasi-spectator studies suggests this as a promising method for informing both descriptive and prescriptive ethics.
    Keywords: Adam Smith; ethics; moral knowledge
    JEL: B31 B12 A12 D60
    Date: 2009–09
  6. By: Elisabeth Cudeville (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Magali Recoules (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: We present a model of household behavior to explore the complex interactions between the decision-making process within the household and social norms. The household is viewed as two separate spheres – the female and the male – both linked by a public good and a "conjugal contract" trough which spouses exchange resources. The conjugal contract negotiated within the couple is partly influenced by social norms given the conformism of individuals. Social norms are endogenously determined as the average conjugal contract. We find that the closer spouses' wages are in the labor market, the more equally they share household tasks. Wage policies promoting gender wage equality lead all couples to renegotiate the terms of their conjugal contract, which in turn changes social norms. Even though spouses aim at maximizing the household's welfare, the resulting equilibrium allocation is not Pareto efficient and inefficiency increases with social conformism.
    Keywords: Conjugal contract ; social norms ; wage discrimination ; household behavior ; intra-household decision-making
    Date: 2009–10
  7. By: Fabian Winter (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena); Heiko Rauhut (ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology); Dirk Helbing (ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: Norms play an important role in establishing social order. The current literature focuses on the emergence, maintenance and impact of norms with regard to coordination and cooperation. However, the issue of norm-related conflict deserves more attention. We develop a general theory of "normative conflict" by differentiating between two different kinds of conflict. The first results from distinct expectations of which means should be chosen to fulfil the norm, the second from distinct expectations of how strong the norm should restrain the self-interest. We demonstrate the empirical relevance of normative conflict in an experiment that applies the "strategy method" to the ultimatum game. Our data reveal normative conflict among different types of actors, in particular among egoistic, equity, equality and "cherry picker" types.
    Keywords: Social norms, normative conflict, cooperation, ultimatum game, strategy method, equity
    JEL: Z13 C91 D30
    Date: 2009–11–02
  8. By: Battu, Harminder (University of Aberdeen); Zenou, Yves (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Where a community or group is socially excluded from a dominant group, some individuals of that group may identify with the dominant culture and others may reject that culture. The aim of this paper is to investigate this issue by empirically analyzing the potential trade-off for ethnic minorities between sticking to their own roots and labour market success. We find that the social environment of individuals and attachments to culture of origin has a strong association with identity choice. Our results also suggest that those non-whites who have preferences that accord with being "oppositional" do experience an employment penalty.
    Keywords: social networks, identity, ethnic minorities, white’s norm
    JEL: J15
    Date: 2009–10
  9. By: Dur, Robert (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Sol, Joeri (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: Social interaction with colleagues is an important job attribute for many workers. To attract and retain workers, managers therefore need to think about how to create and preserve high-quality co-worker relationships. This paper develops a principal-multi-agent model where agents do not only engage in productive activities, but also in social interaction with their colleagues, which in turn creates co-worker altruism. We study how financial incentives for productive activities can improve or damage the work climate. We show that both team incentives and relative incentives can help to create a good work climate.
    Keywords: social interaction, altruism, incentive contracts, co-worker satisfaction
    JEL: D86 J41 M50
    Date: 2009–10
  10. By: Angelucci, Manuela (University of Arizona); De Giorgi, Giacomo (Stanford University); Rangel, Marcos A. (Harris School, University of Chicago); Rasul, Imran (University College London)
    Abstract: We provide descriptive evidence on the characteristics of a household’s extended family network using data from the Progresa social assistance program in rural Mexico. We exploit information on the paternal and maternal surnames of household heads and their spouses and the patronymic naming convention to identify the inter and intra generational family links of each household to others in the village. This provides an almost complete mapping of extended family networks structures across 506 Mexican villages, covering 22,000 households and over 130,000 individuals. We then provide evidence on – (i) whether husbands and wives differ in the extent to which members of their extended family are located in geographic proximity; (ii) the characteristics that predict the existence of extended family links; (iii) the similarity of households within the same family network in terms of their poverty, and how this differs within and between generations of the extended family.
    Keywords: extended family network, Progresa
    JEL: J12 O12
    Date: 2009–10
  11. By: Jones, Kevin
    Abstract: This paper reviews the value of social networking and the impact it can have on small and large businesses. The paper also reviews the Social Networking Business Plan and the power of recommender networks. Examples are given of inbound and outbound marketing techniques. Social Networking is an integral part of inbound marketing. A synopsis of the evolving demographic of social networkers is presented to add clarity and show potential for social networking websites and tools.
    Keywords: social networking; business; Facebook; The Social Network Business Plan; Social Networking Strategy; social networking demographics; inbound marketing; outbound marketing; advertising in the 21st century
    JEL: D71 D83 Z13 M13
    Date: 2009–10–15
  12. By: Rege, Mari (University of Stavanger); Telle, Kjetil (Statistics Norway); Votruba, Mark (Case Western Reserve University)
    Abstract: .
    Keywords: disability; downsizing; layoffs; plant closing; social insurance; social interaction; welfare norms
    JEL: H55 I12 I38 J63 J65
    Date: 2009–06–30
  13. By: Conway, Brian (Department of Sociology, National University of Ireland Maynooth)
    Abstract: This paper examines individual-level determinants of religious belief and practice through a comparative study of Catholics in Belgium, Ireland and Slovenia. Drawing on the World Values Survey, three interrelated questions are examined: (1) to what extent do Belgian Catholics differ from the Irish and Slovenian Catholics? (2) to what extent is this pattern the same across different social categories? and, (3) what factors help account for variation between Catholics in these three countries? Civic engagement predicts Mass attendance but operates differently in Ireland and Slovenia than in Belgium. Social trust is also predictive of Mass attendance. National pride helps to account for higher levels of belief in God among Irish Catholics. These findings suggest that Catholic identity is expressed in nationally-specific forms.
    Keywords: Roman Catholicism; Mass Attendance ; Belief ; Comparative ; Europe
    Date: 2009–10
  14. By: Kim, Young Chul
    Abstract: We develop a dynamic model that can explain identity switching activities among a stereotyped population, such as passing and selective out-migration, based on the group reputation model developed in Kim and Loury (2008). The more talented members of the population, who gain more by separating themselves from the masses, have a greater incentive to pass for an advantaged group with a higher collective reputation (incurring some cost of switching) or differentiate themselves by adopting the cultural traits of a better-off subgroup to send signals of their higher productivity to employers. We also show how an elite subgroup may grow autonomously out of the stereotyped population, when the most talented members adopt the cultural indices that are not affordable to other members of the population. Those cultural traits or indices are not necessarily relevant for productivity, but should be observable so that they can supplement the imperfect information about the workers' true productivity, as discussed in Fang (2001). We plan to merge this development with our previous work in Kim and Loury (2008) in the future.
    Keywords: Endogenous Group Formation; Passing; Partial Passing; Social Elite; Group Reputation; Statistical Discrimination
    JEL: D63 J15 J70
    Date: 2009–05–13
  15. By: Angelucci, Manuela (University of Arizona); De Giorgi, Giacomo (Stanford University); Rangel, Marcos A. (Harris School, University of Chicago); Rasul, Imran (University College London)
    Abstract: This paper documents how the structure of extended family networks in rural Mexico relates to the poverty and inequality of the village of residence. Using the Hispanic naming convention, we construct within-village extended family networks in 504 poor rural villages. Family networks are larger (both in the number of members and as a share of the village population) and out-migration is lower the poorer and the less unequal the village of residence. Our results are consistent with the extended family being a source of informal insurance to its members.
    Keywords: extended family network, migration, village inequality, village marginality
    JEL: J12 O12 O17
    Date: 2009–10
  16. By: Singh, Indervir
    Abstract: The present study attempts to provide reasons for sustainability of social norms. Here, the people are considered as competitors, where everyone tries to improve his position in the society by proving himself better than others. In this situation, a person has an incentive to punish the rule breaker as well as people related to him, if the breaking of rule gives him opportunity to improve his position by punishing them. Further, the people related to the rule breaker have incentive to punish him if they can reduce the extent their punishment by doing so. A person may also use the punishment activity for gains if people who have internalized the norm pay him for his services in different ways due to their conscience. In addition, the conditions for the taking up the punishment activity are also worked out.
    Keywords: Social norms; sustainability; emotions and competition.
    JEL: D02 Z13
    Date: 2009–08–20

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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