nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒11‒21
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Sociability Predicts Happiness: World-Wide Evidence from Time Series By Stefano Bartolini; Ennio Bilancini; Francesco Sarracino
  2. The Association Between Income Inequality and Mental Health: Social Cohesion or Social Infrastructure? By Layte, Richard; Maître, Bertrand
  3. Labor Migration and Social Networks Participation: Evidence from Southern Mozambique By Juan Miguel Gallego; Mariapia Mendola
  4. Altruism and Social Integration. By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Ramón Cobo-Reyes; María Paz Espinosa; Natalia Jiménez; Jaromír Kovárík; Giovanni Ponti
  5. Financial crises and the evaporation of trust By Kartik Anand; Prasanna Gai; Matteo Marsili
  6. Emotional assuring, trust Building, and resource mobilization in start-up organizations By Huy, Quy; Zott, Christoph
  7. Loving Cultural Heritage. Private individual giving and prosocial behavior By Bertacchini Enrico; Santagata Walter; Signorello Giovanni
  8. Social Comparison and Performance: Experimental Evidence on the Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis By Christian Thöni; Simon Gächter

  1. By: Stefano Bartolini; Ennio Bilancini; Francesco Sarracino
    Abstract: We provide macro evidence that in the long run the trends of social capital are a strong predictor of the trends of subjective well-being. Our measure of social capital is the individual membership in groups or associations. We apply the bivariate methodology used in Easterlin and Angelescu (2009) to investigate the long run relationship between subjective well-being and income. We consider all countries for which there exist comparable long time series on social capital, for a total of 14 developed and 5 developing countries. Moreover, we provide several robustness checks of Easterlin and Angelescu’s analysis, confirming confirming that they are unrelated in the long-term.
    Keywords: subjective well-being; life satisfaction; social capital; sociability; relational goods; time-trends
    JEL: I31 D60 O10
    Date: 2009–10
  2. By: Layte, Richard; Maître, Bertrand
    Abstract: A large literature has emerged around the strong association between income inequality and average life expectancy and a range of health outcomes including mental well being. Three possible explanations for the association have been offered: that the association is a statistical artefact; the 'social cohesion hypothesis' and lastly, the 'neo-materialist hypothesis'. We examine the ability of these hypotheses to explain the link between income inequality and mental well being in data from 30 countries from the European Quality of Life Survey (2007). Our results offer support to the social cohesion and neo-materialist explanations but evidence for the neo-materialist hypothesis is strongest. Measures of expenditure on social protection and the quality of a range of social services reduce the coefficient measuring income inequality by over two thirds and render it insignificant. However, variables measuring social cohesion such as trust in others, civic participation and social contact reduce the income inequality coefficient by 44% and provide the best fitting model as measured by AIC value.
    Date: 2009–11
  3. By: Juan Miguel Gallego (Toulouse School of Economics and LdA); Mariapia Mendola (University of Milan Bicocca and LdA)
    Abstract: There is a large literature pointing to community participation and social networks as salient components of household well-being in developing settings. Yet, there are few insights into whether people mobility affects incentive problems associated with social networks, or whether labor migration displaces social informal institutions in village economies at origin. This paper directly tests the role of international migration in shaping participation in groups and social networks by migrant sending households in village economies at origin. By using an original household survey from two southern regions in Mozambique, we find that households with successful migrants (i.e. those receiving either remittances or return migration) engage more in community based social networks. Our findings are robust to alternative definitions of social interaction and to endogeneity concerns suggesting that stable migration ties and higher income stability through remittances may decrease participation constraints and increase household commitment in cooperative arrangements in migrant-sending communities.
    Keywords: International Migration, Social Capital, Networks, Group Participation, Mozambique
    JEL: O17 O15 O12
    Date: 2009–11–17
  4. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Universidad de Granada); Ramón Cobo-Reyes (Universidad de Granada); María Paz Espinosa (The University of the Basque Country); Natalia Jiménez (Universidad de Granada); Jaromír Kovárík (The University of the Basque Country); Giovanni Ponti (Università di Ferrara and Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: We report on a two-stage experiment in which i) we first elicit the social network within a section of undergraduate students and ii) we then measure their altruistic attitudes by means of a standard Dictator game. We observe that more socially integrated subjects are also more altruistic, as betweenness centrality and reciprocal degree are positively correlated with the level of giving, even after controlling for framing and social distance, which have been shown to significantly affect giving in previous studies. Our findings suggest that social distance and social integration are complementary determinants of altruistic behavior.
    Keywords: Altruism, centrality, social network experiments.
    JEL: C93 D85
    Date: 2009–11–16
  5. By: Kartik Anand; Prasanna Gai; Matteo Marsili
    Abstract: Trust lies at the crux of most economic transactions, with credit markets being a notable example. Drawing on insights from the literature on coordination games and network growth, we develop a simple model to clarify how trust breaks down in financial systems. We show how the arrival of bad news about a financial agent can lead others to lose confidence in it and how this, in turn, can spread across the entire system. Our results emphasize the role of hysteresis -- it takes considerable effort to regain trust once it has been broken. Although simple, the model provides a plausible account of the credit freeze that followed the global financial crisis of 2007/8, both in terms of the sequence of events and the measures taken (and being proposed) by the authorities.
    Date: 2009–11
  6. By: Huy, Quy (INSEAD); Zott, Christoph (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: Based on a five-year field study of six new ventures, we investigate whether and how organization foun-ders use affective influence, a form of emotion management, with diverse stakeholders, namely investors, board members, customers, and employees. We found wide differences in founders' propensity to use affective influence actions and that not all affective influence actions were effective in mobilizing re-sources for the new firm. We identified a particular form of beneficial affective influence we call "emo-tional assuring," which refers to affective influence actions that seek to build three different dimensions of trust in regard to the new firm: (1) the firm's integrity, (2) the founder's competence as an entrepreneur, and (3) the founder's benevolent character. Although firms that practiced little emotional assuring could mobilize adequate resources as well as firms that did it in munificent environments, the latter gained an upper hand and were more resilient under tough economic conditions. We also identified the moderating conditions and limitations of emotional assuring.
    Keywords: Affective influence; emotional assuring; emotion; entrepreneurship; organization creation; resource mobilization; trust;
    Date: 2009–10–01
  7. By: Bertacchini Enrico; Santagata Walter (University of Turin); Signorello Giovanni
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyse patterns of private individual giving to Cultural Heritage institutions in Italy. Based on the emerging economic literature on pro-social behavior, we carried out a Contingent Valuation survey to assess individuals’ willingness to donate to museums and heritage organizations according to different conditions and set of incentives. Our findings reveal that intrinsic motivations and accountability of the recipient institutions may be more effective drivers for eliciting charitable giving than the usually proposed fiscal incentives. The results provide avenues for future empirical research and policy suggestions for fund raising cultural institutions.
    Date: 2009–11
  8. By: Christian Thöni; Simon Gächter
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of wage comparisons for worker productivity. We present three studies which all use three-person gift-exchange experiments. Consistent with Akerlof and Yellen's (1990) fair wage-effort hypothesis we find that disadvantageous wage discrimination leads to lower efforts while advantageous wage discrimination does not increase efforts on average. Two studies allow us to measure wage comparison effects at the individual level. We observe strongly heterogeneous wage comparison effects. We also find that reactions to wage discrimination can be attributed to the underlying intentions of discrimination rather than to payoff consequences.
    Keywords: fair wage-effort hypothesis, wage comparison, gift exchange, horizontal fairness, discrimination
    JEL: J31 J71 C91 C92
    Date: 2009–11

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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.