nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒12‒05
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Ethnic Identity and Social Distance in Friendship Formation By De Martí, Joan; Zenou, Yves
  2. Work status and family planning: insights from the Italian puzzle By Sabatini, Fabio
  3. Helping the Helpers: Altruism As A Rational Choice of Donors to A Students Voluntary Organization By Juan-Camilo Cárdenas; Miguel Andrés Espinosa; Sandra Polanía Reyes
  4. Interrelationships between human capital and social capital in small and medium sized firms: The effect of age and sector of activity By J. Augusto Felicio; Eduardo Couto; Jorge Caiado
  5. Corporate Stakeholders and Trust By Goergen, Marc
  6. Juvenile Delinquency and Conformism By Patacchini, Eleonora; Zenou, Yves
  7. On Human Behavior, Human Fulfillment, and the Nature of the Workplace By Jon D. Wisman
  8. Religion, Religiosity and Educational Attainment of Immigrants to the USA By Sankar Mukhopadhyay
  9. Corruption, Governance and FDI Location in China: A Province-Level Analysis By Matthew A Cole; Robert J R Elliott; Jing Zhang
  10. WHO MAKES A GOOD LEADER? COOPERATIVENESS, OPTIMISM AND LEADING-BY-EXAMPLE By Simon Gaechter; Daniele Nosenzo; Elke Renner; Martin Sefton

  1. By: De Martí, Joan; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: We analyze a model of network formation with agents that belong to different communities and an endogenous cost structure. Both individual benefits and costs depend on direct as well as indirect connections. Benefits of an indirect connection decrease with distance in the network, while the cost of a link depends on the type of agents involved in it as well as the rest of linkage decisions of both of them. Two individuals from the same community always face a low linking cost. The cost of forming a relationship for two individuals belonging to different communities diminishes with the rate of exposure of each of them to the other community. As a result, our model introduces endogenous social distances that rely on individual positions in the network. We derive a number of results with regard to equilibrium networks: (i) socialization among the same type of agents might be weak even if the within-type link cost is very low; (ii) oppositional identity patterns can arise for a wide range of parameters; (iii) integrated networks can be socially preferable to segregated networks.
    Keywords: bridges; ethnic minorities; identity; Network formation; social norms; structural holes
    JEL: A14 D85 J15
    Date: 2009–11
  2. By: Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: This paper uses a dataset built by the author on the basis of raw data taken from different national surveys to carry out an investigation into the socio-economic determinants of couples’ childbearing decisions in Italy. Since having children is in most cases a “couple matter”, the analysis accounts for the characteristics of both the aspiring parents. Our results contradict theoretical predictions according to which the increase in the opportunity cost of motherhood connected to higher female labour participation is responsible for the fall in fertility. On the contrary, the instability of the women’s work status (i.e. their being occasional, precarious, and low-paid workers) reveals to be a significant and strong dissuasive deterrent discouraging the decision to have children. Couples with unemployed women are less likely to plan childbearing as well. Other relevant explanatory variables are age, current family size, and the strength of family ties.
    Keywords: Fertility; Family planning; Childbearing; Labour market; Female participation; Labour precariousness; Social capital; Italy
    JEL: J13 J21 Z13 J24
    Date: 2009–11–24
  3. By: Juan-Camilo Cárdenas; Miguel Andrés Espinosa; Sandra Polanía Reyes
    Abstract: Altruism, understood as the individual disposition to sacrifice personal income to improve someone else’s income can be a rational choice strategy which responds to different motivations, incentives and institutions, in a consistent way with the donor’s optimization logic. In this article we extend the Andreoni and Miller’s experimental design (2002) using a modified Dictator game and we applied it to 470 students from several universities and different majors, years of study and level of income who can donate part of their income to the Bella Flor Foundation (, a real nonprofit organization founded by a group of college students whose mission is “to promote the integral development of the children from Bella Flor, Paraíso and Mirador neighborhoods through social activities in education, health care, recreation, and exalting human values”. We test the consistency of the player’s decisions with the axioms of revealed preferences, and with the effects of relative prices and income. We also evaluate the violation of consistency of the axioms and estimate the demand functions for altruism towards this charity, with policy implications related to the optimal design for fundraising strategies. Our results confirm that a significant fraction of individuals show consistent decisions, i.e. that donations to these charities behave as “normal goods” in price and income effects and with rather small number of violations of the axioms of revealed preferences. However, the experimental data suggests that revealing the identity of the donor can decrease altruism and induce more violations of the axioms of consistent behavior mentioned.
    Date: 2009–11–08
  4. By: J. Augusto Felicio (School of Economics and Management (ISEG), Technical University of Lisbon); Eduardo Couto (School of Economics and Management (ISEG), Technical University of Lisbon); Jorge Caiado (CEMAPRE, School of Economics and Management (ISEG), Technical University of Lisbon)
    Abstract: This study explores the interconnection between human factors and social factors and analyses the relations influenced by the specific activity and age of firms. A statistical approach is implemented which applies factor analysis techniques, based on a sample of small and medium sized firms from four sectors of activity which are between four and fifteen years old, and are split into three time periods. It is found that there are interconnected groups of human capital and social capital factors, although a sizeable proportion of the literature conceptually separates these factors and deals with them individually. It is also ascertained that this relationship is influenced by the field of activity and the age of the firms.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Factor analysis, Human capital, Management, Social capital
    JEL: M10
    Date: 2009–11
  5. By: Goergen, Marc (Cardiff Business School)
    Abstract: To our knowledge, this is the first paper that investigates the links between trust, the institutional setting (in terms of employment protection legislation (EPL) and investor rights) and studies the impact of all three on economic performance. In line with the previous literature (e.g. Knack and Keefer (1997), Zak and Knack (2001)), we find that trust has a positive impact on GDP per capita growth. Our novel results are twofold. First, we find that EPL and investor rights have a negative relationship and that both (although the latter to a lesser extent) are substitutes for trust. Second, all three variables have a positive effect on economic growth.
    Keywords: Corporate governance; trust; investor protection; employment protection legislation; institutions and economic growth
    JEL: G34 K20 O16
    Date: 2009–11
  6. By: Patacchini, Eleonora; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: This paper studies whether conformism behavior affects individual outcomes in crime. We present a social network model of peer effects with ex-ante heterogeneous agents and show how conformism and deterrence affect criminal activities. We then bring the model to the data by using a very detailed dataset of adolescent friendship networks. A novel social network-based empirical strategy allows us to identify peer effects for different types of crimes. We find that conformity plays an important role for all crimes, especially for petty crimes. This suggests that, for juvenile crime, an effective policy should not only be measured by the possible crime reduction it implies but also by the group interactions it engenders.
    Keywords: linear-in-means model; social networks; social norms; spatial autoregressive model
    JEL: A14 C21 D85 K42 Z13
    Date: 2009–11
  7. By: Jon D. Wisman
    Abstract: Many notable heterodox economists have viewed workplace democracy as essential for the realization of the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality, and community. Yet the economics profession has never given their ideal more than a passing and dismissive glance. The reasons for this have been well-covered in the literature. But one reason that has been all but ignored is that the theory of human behavior that is credited to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and that has dominated economic thinking ever since is not supportive of workplace democracy. However, Smith developed a far richer theory of human behavior in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. His fuller theory depicted humans as fully social beings, in need of community. This article outlines the “social approbation” theory of human behavior that Smith developed in his Theory of Moral Sentiments and demonstrates how it is in accord with the findings of contemporary evolutionary psychology. It then examines the manner in which this theory suggests workplace democracy as the appropriate organizational form of control for society's sphere of production.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, Self-interest, Altruism, Approbation, Cooperation, Workplace democracy
    Date: 2009–09
  8. By: Sankar Mukhopadhyay (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)
    Abstract: This paper quantifies the association between religions, religiosity and educational attainment of new lawful immigrants to the U.S. This paper considers a broad set of religions that includes most of the major religions of the world. Using data from the New Immigrant Survey (2003), we show that affiliation with religion is not necessarily associated with an increase in educational attainment. Muslim and “Other religion” immigrants have less education compared to the immigrants who are not affiliated with any religion. However, affiliation with the Jewish religion is associated with higher educational attainment for males. With regard to religiosity, our results show that high religiosity is associated with lower educational attainment, especially for females. We also outline alternative frameworks that provide insight about the mechanisms that link religion and religiosity with educational attainment.
    Keywords: Immigration; Religion; Religiosity; Education
    JEL: I21 Z12
    Date: 2009–11
  9. By: Matthew A Cole; Robert J R Elliott; Jing Zhang
    Abstract: China's rapid growth in recent years has been matched by large increases in exports and foreign direct investment (FDI). However, within China considerable regional disparities in FDI flows exist. In this paper we use detailed province level data for China to examine the determinants of intra-country FDI flows. Specifically, we investigate whether FDI is attracted to those regions that exhibit good governance and are most strongly engaged in the fight against corruption. We first construct proxies for provincial government efficiency and the extent of a region's anti-corruption effort. Our subsequent regression results confirm that FDI is attracted to provinces with relatively high levels of government efficiency and those that are actively involved in the fight against corruption.
    Keywords: FDI, corruption, governance
    JEL: O13 L60 Q21 Q25 Q28
    Date: 2009–11
  10. By: Simon Gaechter (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham); Daniele Nosenzo (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham); Elke Renner (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham); Martin Sefton (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We examine the characteristics of effective leaders in a simple leader-follower voluntary contributions game. We focus on two factors: the individual’s cooperativeness and the individual’s beliefs about the cooperativeness of others. We find that groups perform best when led by those who are cooperatively inclined. Partly this reflects a false consensus effect: cooperative leaders are more optimistic than non-cooperators about the cooperativeness of followers. However, cooperative leaders contribute more than non-cooperative leaders even after controlling for optimism. We conclude that differing leader contributions by differing types of leader in large part reflects social motivations.
    JEL: A13 C92
    Date: 2009–10

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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