nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒12‒11
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. VIllage Economics and the Structure of Extended Family Networks By Manuela Angelucci
  2. Social Ties and User Generated Content: Evidence from an Online Social Network By Reto Hoffstetter; Harikesh Nair; Scott Shriver; Klaus Miller
  3. Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility By Benabou, Roland; Tirole, Jean
  4. Will There Be Blood? Incentives and Substitution Effects in Pro-social Behavior By Lacetera, Nicola; Macis, Mario; Slonim, Robert
  5. Diversity of Communities and Economic Development: An Overview By Ranis, Gustav
  6. Legal Liability when Individuals Have Moral Concerns By Bruno Deffains; Claude Fluet
  7. "Do the Right Thing:" The Effects of Moral Suasion on Cooperation By Ernesto Dal Bó; Pedro Dal Bó
  8. Common reason to believe and framing effect in the team reasoning theory: an experimental approach By Leonardo Becchetti; Giacomo Degli Antoni; Marco Faillo
  9. Happiness, Ideology and Crime in Argentine Cities By Rafael di Tella; Ernesto Schargrodsky

  1. By: Manuela Angelucci
    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.
    Keywords: extended family network, Hispanic naming convention, village marginality, residence, poverty, inequality, families, villages, rural, family, Mexico, residence, population, migration,
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Reto Hoffstetter (University of Bern); Harikesh Nair (Stanford Graduate School of Business); Scott Shriver (Stanford Graduate School of Business); Klaus Miller (University of Bern)
    Abstract: We use variation in wind speeds at surfing locations in Switzerland as exogenous shifters of users' propensity to post content about their surfing activity onto an online social network. We exploit this variation to test whether users' social ties on the network have a causal effect on their content generation, and whether content generation in turn has a similar causal effect on the users' ability to form social ties. Economically significant causal effects of this kind can produce positive feedback that generate multiplier effects to interventions that subsidize tie formation. We argue these interventions can therefore be the basis of a strategy by the firm to indirectly facilitate content generation on the site. The exogenous variation provided by wind speeds enable us to measure this feedback empirically and to assess the return on investment from such policies. We use a detailed dataset from an online social network that comprises the complete details of social tie formation and content generation on the site. The richness of he data enable us to control for several spurious confounds that have typically plagued empirical analysis of social interactions. Our results show evidence for significant positive feedback in user generated content. We discuss the implications of the estimates for the management of the content and the growth of the network.
    Keywords: social networks, user generated content, social interactions, advertising revenue, simultaneity, identification
    JEL: C25 C61 D91 L11 L12 L16 L68 M31
    Date: 2009–11
  3. By: Benabou, Roland (Princeton University); Tirole, Jean (IDEI)
    Abstract: Society's demands for individual and corporate social responsibility as an alternative response to market and distributive failures are becoming increasingly prominent. We first draw on recent developments in the "psychology and economics" of prosocial behavior to shed light on this trend, which reflects a complex interplay of genuine altruism, social or self image concerns, and material incentives. We then link individual concerns to corporate social responsibility, contrasting three possible understandings of the term: the adoption of a more long-term perspective by firms, the delegated exercise of prosocial behavior on behalf of stakeholders, and insider-initiated corporate philanthropy. For both individuals and firms we discuss the benefits, costs and limits of socially responsible behavior as a means to further societal goals.
    Keywords: corporate social responsibility, socially responsible investment, image concerns, shareholder value
    JEL: D64 D78 H41 L31
    Date: 2009–11
  4. By: Lacetera, Nicola (Case Western Reserve University); Macis, Mario (University of Michigan); Slonim, Robert (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: We examine how economic incentives affect pro-social behavior through the analysis of a unique dataset with information on more than 14,000 American Red Cross blood drives. Our findings are consistent with blood donors responding to incentives in a "standard" way; offering donors economic incentives significantly increases turnout and blood units collected, and more so the greater the incentive's monetary value. In addition, there is no disproportionate increase in donors who come to a drive but are ineligible to donate when incentives are offered. Further evidence from a small-scale field experiment corroborates these findings and confirms that donors are motivated by the economic value of the items offered. We also find that a substantial fraction of the increase in donations due to incentives may be explained by donors substituting away from neighboring drives toward drives where rewards are offered, and the likelihood of this substitution is higher the higher the monetary value of the incentive offered and if neighboring drives do not offer incentives. Thus, extrinsic incentives motivate pro-social behavior, but unless substitution effects are also considered, the effect of incentives may be overestimated.
    Keywords: incentives, altruism, public good provision, pro-social behavior, public health
    JEL: D12 D64 I18
    Date: 2009–11
  5. By: Ranis, Gustav (Yale University)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on the impact of ethnic diversity on economic development. Ethnically polarized societies are less likely to agree on the provision of public goods and more likely to engage in rent seeking activities providing lower levels of social capital. Initial conditions are important determinants of adverse development outcomes. The role of decentralization, democracy and markets as potential remedies are discussed. The paper then presents a number of preliminary hypotheses on the relationship between diversity and instability in order to stimulate future research.
    JEL: O11 O40 O43 O55
    Date: 2009–09
  6. By: Bruno Deffains; Claude Fluet
    Abstract: We incorporate normative motivations into the economic model of accidents and tort rules. The social norm is that one should avoid harming others and should compensate if nevertheless harm is caused. To some extent, this is internalized through intrinsic moral concerns; moreover, those thought not to adhere to the norm are met with social disapproval. Moral and reputational concerns are not strong enough, however, for injurers to willingly compensate their victims. Absent legal liability, normative concerns induce precautions to prevent harm but precautions are then socially inefficient. By contrast, perfectly enforced legal liability crowds out informal incentives completely (e.g., individuals causing harm suffer no stigma) but precautions are then socially efficient. Under imperfectly enforced legal liability, formal legal sanctions and normative concerns are complements and interact to induce more precautions than under no-liability.
    Keywords: Intrinsic motivations, social norms, esteem, strict liability, negligence, crowding out
    JEL: D8 K4 Z13
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Ernesto Dal Bó; Pedro Dal Bó
    Abstract: The use of moral appeals to affect the behavior of others is pervasive (from the pulpit to ethics classes) but little is known about the effects of moral suasion on behavior. In a series of experiments we study whether moral suasion affects behavior in voluntary contribution games and mechanisms by which behavior is altered. We find that observing a message with a moral standard according to the golden rule or, alternatively, utilitarian philosophy, results in a significant but transitory increase in contributions above the levels observed for subjects that did not receive a message or received a message that advised them to contribute without a moral rationale. When players have the option of punishing each other after the contribution stage the effect of the moral messages on contributions becomes persistent: punishments and moral messages interact to sustain cooperation. We investigate the mechanism through which moral suasion operates and find it to involve both expectation- and preference-shifting effects. These results suggest that the use of moral appeals can be an effective way of promoting cooperation.
    JEL: C9 H41
    Date: 2009–12
  8. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Giacomo Degli Antoni (EconomEtica); Marco Faillo (University of Trento - Faculty of Economics)
    Abstract: The present paper is aimed at empirically verifying the role of the “common reason to believe” (Sugden 2003) and of framing (Bacharach 1999 and 2006) within the theory of team reasoning. The analysis draws on data collected trough a Traveler’s Dilemma experiment. To study the role of the common reason to believe, players’ belief in their counterpart’s choice are elicited and the correlation between the endorsement of team reasoning and beliefs is considered. With respect to the idea of frame proposed by Bacharach, we study the effect of the reduction of social distance on the probability that the “we-frame” comes to players’ mind. Social distance is decreased by introducing a meeting between the two players after the game. It is shown that the common reason to believe appropriately explains the internal logic of team reasoning and that the reduction of social distance makes the “we-frame” more likely.
    Keywords: Team Reasoning, Common Reason to Believe, Framing, Traveler’s Dilemma; Social Distance
    JEL: C72 C91 A13
    Date: 2009–11
  9. By: Rafael di Tella; Ernesto Schargrodsky
    Abstract: This paper uses self-reported data on victimization, subjective well being and ideology for a panel of individuals living in six Argentine cities. While no relationship is found between happiness and victimization experiences, a correlation is documented, however, between victimization experience and changes in ideological positions. Specifically, individuals who are the victims of crime are subsequently more likely than non-victims to state that inequality is high in Argentina and that the appropriate measure to reduce crime is to become less punitive (demanding lower penalties for the same crime).
    Keywords: Happiness, crime, beliefs
    JEL: I31 K42 R29
    Date: 2009–11

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