nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒01‒10
seventeen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Social Engagement and Student Body Diversity at Elite American Colleges By Sharissa Barrow; Douglas Coate
  2. Talking up Social Capital: An Analysis of Social Voice By Hudson, John
  3. Local social capital and geographical mobility By Quentin David; Alexandre Janiak; Etienne Wasmer
  4. Social Networks By de Martí, Joan; Zenou, Yves
  5. Turnout Intention and Social Networks. By Constanza Fosco; Annick Laruelle; Angel Sanches
  6. Do Spouses Cooperate? And If Not: Why? By Cochard François, Couprie Helene, Hopfensitz Astrid
  7. Contracting Under Reciprocal Altruism By Shchetinin, Oleg
  8. The Influence of Social Pressure and Nationality on Individual Decisions: Evidence from the Behaviour of Referees By Dawson, Peter; Dobson, S
  9. Creditworthiness as a signal of trustworthiness: field experiment in microfinance and consequences on causality in impact studies. By Leonardo Becchetti; Pierluigi Conzo
  10. Fits and Misfits : Technological Matching and R & D Networks By Nicolas Jonard; R. Cowan; B. Sanditov
  11. Preferences and Beliefs in a Sequential Social Dilemma: A Within-Subjects Analysis By Blanco, Mariana; Engelmann, Dirk; Koch, Alexander K.; Normann, Hans-Theo
  12. On Approval and Disapproval: Theory and Experiments By López-Pérez, Raúl; Vorsatz, Marc
  13. Will Joe the Plumber envy Bill Gates? By Jérémy Celse
  14. Motives and Giving Norms behind Remittances: the Case of Filipino Overseas Workers and their Recipient Households By Alba, Michael M.; Sugui, Jessaine Soraya C.
  15. System Size, Lock-in and Network Effects for Patient Records By Catherine Tucker; Amalia Miller
  16. On the Channels of Pro-Social Behavior Evidence from a natural field experiment By Hannes Koppel; Günther G. Schulze
  17. Do social enterprises finance their investments differently from for-profit firms? The case of social residential services in Italy By Alessandro Fedele; Raffaele Miniaci

  1. By: Sharissa Barrow; Douglas Coate
    Abstract: Putnam has concluded that trust in others and civic and social engagement in the community are inversely related to the racial and ethnic diversity of the population. In this paper, we examine how measures of social engagement among college students vary with student body racial and ethnic heterogeneity at elite U.S. colleges. We find that socialization measures from the Fiske guide to colleges and from the Princeton Review guide to best colleges are inversely related to student body diversity. We also find that student retention from the freshman to the sophomore year is positively related to student body diversity. This may be because less intense social lives leaves more time for study during the freshman year, when students are learning to manage their time.
    Keywords: social capital, social engagement, student body diversity, American colleges
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2009–12
  2. By: Hudson, John
    Abstract: Social capital represents the potential networks open to an individual. But potential does not mean that it is exploited. Social voice is defined as the ability of an individual to make use of their social capital. We analyze a particular aspect of ‘social voice’, i.e. the ability to persuade others. Using a Bayesian framework we conclude that this should increase with education and the frequency with which the social network considers new ideas or issues. The impact of age is ambiguous. An individual’s knowledge should increase, but so too should the strength of prior beliefs within their social network. Empirical work based on Eurobarometer data confirms the importance of education and that social voice declines with age. It also finds evidence for a gender gap, which education only partially corrects, but marriage magnifies. Finally we confirm that social voice impacts on individual wellbeing.
    Keywords: social capital; gender; education marriage
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Quentin David; Alexandre Janiak; Etienne Wasmer (CREA, University of Luxembourg)
    Abstract: In this paper, we attempt to understand the determinants of mobility through introduc- ing the concept of local social capital. Investing in local ties is rational when workers do not expect to move to another region, and reciprocally, once local social capital is accumulated, incentives to move are reduced. We build a model to illustrate several types of complementarities: observationally close individuals may take di¤erent paths characterized by high local social capital and low mobility vs. low social capital and high propensity to move. Employment protection reinforces the accumulation of local social capital and thus reduces mobility. Externalities generate multiple equilibria in which mobility and social capital are negatively correlated across equilibria. European data supports the theory: the South of Europe is characterized by both low mobility and local social capital, while the North of Europe has higher mobility and a more general type of social capital. Within a country and at the individual level, more social capital is associated with lower mobility.
    JEL: A10
    Date: 2009
  4. By: de Martí, Joan (Universitat Pompeu Fabra); Zenou, Yves (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: We survey the literature on social networks by putting together the economics, sociological and physics/applied mathematics approaches, showing their similarities and differences. We expose, in particular, the two main ways of modeling network formation. While the physics/applied mathematics approach is capable of reproducing most observed networks, it does not explain why they emerge. On the contrary, the economics approach is very precise in explaining why networks emerge but does a poor job in matching real-world networks. We also analyze behaviors on networks, which take networks as given and focus on the impact of their structure on individuals’ outcomes. Using a game-theoretical framework, we then compare the results with those obtained in sociology.
    Keywords: random graph, game theory, centrality measures, network formation, weak and strong ties
    JEL: A14 C72 D85 Z13
    Date: 2009–12
  5. By: Constanza Fosco (Universidad Carlos III Madrid); Annick Laruelle (Ikerbasque and University of the Basque Country); Angel Sanches (Universidad Carlos III Madrid)
    Abstract: How can networking affect the turnout in an electrion? We present a simple model to explain turnout as a result of a dynamic process of formation of the intention to vote within Erdös-Renyi random networks. Citizens have fixed preferences for one of two parties and are embedded in a given social network. They decide whether or not to vote on the basis of the arritude of their immediate contacts. They may simply follow the behavior of the majority (followers) or make an adaptative local calculus of voting (Downsian behavior). So they either have the intention of voting when the majority of their social neighborhood that elections are "close". We study the long run average turnout, interpreted as the actual turnout observed in an lection. Depending on the combination of values of the two key parameters, the average connectivity and the probability of behaving as a follower or in a Downsian fashion, the system exhibits monostability (zero turnout), bistability (zero, moderate and high turnout). This means, in partituclar, that for a wide range of values ob both parameters, we obtain realistic turnout rates, i.e. between 50% and 90%.
    Keywords: Turnout, Social Networks, Adaptative Behavior
    Date: 2009–09–03
  6. By: Cochard François, Couprie Helene, Hopfensitz Astrid (CRESE, Université de Franche-Comté. THEMA, Université de Cergy Pontoise. GREMAQ, Toulouse School of Economics)
    Abstract: Models of household economics require an understanding of economic interactions in families. Social ties, repetition and reduced strategic uncertainty make social dilemmas in couples a very special case that needs to be empirically studied. In this paper we present results from a large economic experiment with 100 maritally living couples. Participants made decisions in a social dilemma with their partner and with a stranger. We predict behavior in this task with individual and couples' socio-demographic variables, efficiency preferences and couples' marital satisfaction. As opposed to models explaining behavior amongst strangers, the regressions on couples’ decisions highlight clear patterns concerning cooperation behavior which could inspire future household decision-making models.
    Keywords: Noncooperative Games; Laboratory, Individual Behavior; Household Production and Intra-household Allocation
    JEL: C72 C91 D13
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Shchetinin, Oleg (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: I show that a simple formal model of reciprocal altruism is able to predict human behavior in contracting situations, puzzling when considered within selfishness assumption. For instance, motivation and performance crowding-out are explained by a signaling mechanism in which provision of an extrinsic incentive signals non-generosity of the Principal and decreases Agent’s intrinsic motivation. The model’s equilibrium predicts behavior in the Control Game of Falk and Kosfeld and in a variant of Trust Game by Fehr and Rockenbach. This suggests that reciprocal altruism modeling could be fruitful more generally in applications of contract theory.<p>
    Keywords: Reciprocal Altruism; Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation; Contract Theory; Behavioral Economics.
    JEL: D82 M54
    Date: 2009–12–09
  8. By: Dawson, Peter; Dobson, S
    Abstract: This study considers the influences on agents’ decisions in an international context. Using data from five seasons of European cup football matches it is found that referees favour home teams when awarding yellow and red cards. Previous research on referee decisions in national leagues has identified social pressure as a key reason for favouritism. While social pressure is also found to be an important influence in this study, the international setting shows that nationality is another important influence on the decision-making of referees. In considering principal-agent relationships account needs to be taken not only of how agents (referees) decide under social pressure but also of how national identity shapes agents’ decision making.
    Keywords: social pressure; nationality; decision-making; referee home bias; football
    Date: 2009
  9. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Pierluigi Conzo (University of Rome Tor Vergata)
    Abstract: Creditworthiness and trustworthiness are almost synonyms since the act of conferring a loan has the indirect effect of signaling the trustworthiness of the borrower. We test the creditworthiness-trustworthiness nexus in an investment game experiment on a sample of participants/non participants to a microfinance program in Argentina and find that trustors give significantly more to (and believe they will receive more from) microfinance borrowers. Trustees’ first and second order beliefs are also consistent with this picture. Our findings identify a “horizontal trustworthiness externality” which creates a direct (loan-performance) causality nexus since the mere loan provision increases the borrower’s attractiveness as a business partner.
    Keywords: field experiment, microfinance, investment game, trust, trustworthiness
    JEL: O16 C93
    Date: 2009–12
  10. By: Nicolas Jonard; R. Cowan; B. Sanditov (CREA, University of Luxembourg)
    Abstract: This paper presents an economic model of R&D network formation through the creation of strategic alliances. Firms are randomly endowed with knowledge elements. They base their alliance decisions purely on the technological fit of potential part- ners, ignoring social capital considerations and indirect benefits on the network. This is sucient to generate equilibrium networks with the small world properties of ob- served alliance networks, namely short pairwise distances and local clustering. The equilibrium networks are more clustered than "comparable" random graphs, while they have similar characteristic path length. Two extreme regimes of competition are examined, to show that while the competition has a quantitative eect on the equilibrium networks (density is lower with competition), the small world features of the equilibrium networks are preserved.
    JEL: D85
    Date: 2009
  11. By: Blanco, Mariana (Universidad del Rosario); Engelmann, Dirk (Royal Holloway, University of London); Koch, Alexander K. (University of Aarhus); Normann, Hans-Theo (Goethe University Frankfurt)
    Abstract: Within-subject data from sequential social dilemma experiments reveal a correlation of first-and second-mover decisions for which two channels may be responsible, that our experiment allows to separate: i) a direct, preference-based channel that influences both first- and second-mover decisions; ii) an indirect channel, where second-mover decisions influence beliefs via a consensus effect, and the first-mover decision is a best response to these beliefs. We find strong evidence for the indirect channel: beliefs about second-mover cooperation are biased toward own second-mover behavior, and most subjects best respond to stated beliefs. But when first movers know the true probability of second-mover cooperation, subjects' own second moves still have predictive power regarding their first moves, suggesting that the direct channel also plays a role.
    Keywords: experimental economics, consensus effect, social dilemmas
    JEL: C72 C90
    Date: 2009–12
  12. By: López-Pérez, Raúl (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.); Vorsatz, Marc (Fundación de Estudios de Economía Aplicada–FEDEA)
    Abstract: Prior studies have shown that selfish behavior is reduced when co–players have the opportunity to approve/disapprove a player’s choice, even if that has no consequences on the player’s material payoff. Using a prisoner’s dilemma, we experimentally study the causes of this phenomenon, which seems crucial to understand compliance with social norms. Our data is consistent with a model based on the assumption that people feel badly if they expect to be disapproved by others. Furthermore, we find suggestive evidence in line with the following assumptions: (i) People become more aware about the others opinion if feedback is available, and (ii) even if the feedback is ex post and has no effect on their ex ante expectations about disapproval, people prefer not to receive negative feedback.
    Keywords: Approval; disapproval; non–material rewards/sanctions; social norms.
    JEL: A13 C72 D64 Z13
    Date: 2009–12
  13. By: Jérémy Celse
    Abstract: We investigate experimentally the impact of unflattering social comparisons on individuals’ behaviour. More precisely, we examine the relationship between the satisfaction subjects derive from social comparisons and subjects’ decisions to reduce others’ income. In our experiment, subjects are randomly paired and receive an endowment. Then subjects have to report their satisfaction level after being informed of their own endowment and of their opponent’s endowment. Then they can choose, or not, to reduce their opponent’s endowment incurring a personal cost. We observe: (1) most people report their satisfaction to be negatively affected by learning others’ endowments; (2) destructive decisions are predominantly undertaken by dissatisfied subjects; (3) satisfaction is negatively affected by absolute difference (difference between subjects’ endowments measured in absolute terms) and (4) relative difference between subjects’ endowments modulates subjects’ negative behaviour.
    Date: 2009–12
  14. By: Alba, Michael M.; Sugui, Jessaine Soraya C.
    Abstract: The literature has focused on motives to explain remittance behavior. But as nonanonymous transfers, remittances are apt to be influenced by giving norms as well. We formulate an empirical specification that takes account of remittance motives involving worker-household pairs. We find that altruism dominates the exchange motive among overseas workers who are likely to be the primary breadwinners of their recipient households. We also find that in the subsample in which overseas workers are likely to be secondary breadwinners, (a) household labor income is an endogenous explanatory variable, and (b) the error covariance of the household income and remittance selection equations is positive. A possible reason for (a) is that secondary breadwinners use household income as an imperfect signal of opportunity cost or to detect unobserved effort, i.e., moral hazard, in generating income. As for (b), we surmise that it indicates the presence of incentive-compatible mechanisms against moral hazard. On giving norms, we find that, in samples that include overseas workers who are secondary breadwinners, remittance amounts are afflicted with negative selectivity. We present evidence that this is consistent with Filipino giving practices in which everyone gives but in modest amounts.
    Keywords: remittances, remittance motives, giving norms
    Date: 2009
  15. By: Catherine Tucker (MIT Marketing); Amalia Miller (Economics Department, University of Virginia)
    Abstract: We examine empirically whether the size of a firm using a network affects the scope of its network usage, and consequently network effects and lock-in within the network. We use the example of hospital information exchange. We find that hospitals in larger hospital systems are more likely to exchange electronic patient information only within their system and less likely to exchange patient information externally. We show that hospitals are also more likely to exchange information externally if others hospitals also do so. This implies that the disinclination of large hospital systems to exchange data externally harms overall levels of network use. Our results highlight that makers of technology policy designed to encourage the optimal use of networks should consider regulating the behavior of network users as well as technology vendors.
    Keywords: Technology Diffusion, Health-care IT, Network Externalities, Hospitals
    JEL: I1 K2 L5 O3
    Date: 2009–08
  16. By: Hannes Koppel (Max-Planck-Institute of Economics, Jena); Günther G. Schulze (Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg)
    Abstract: We conduct a natural field experiment on direct and indirect transfer mechanisms for small donations. Charitable contributions are significantly higher if made indirectly, i.e. if they are tied to the purchase of a good sold at a premium, than if they are made directly. Donations are signficantly higher under both transfer mechanisms if people are given a suggested reference donatio
    Keywords: Tied versus untied transfers, charitable donations, charity, willingness to give, pro social behavior
    JEL: D64 C93 H41
    Date: 2009–12–14
  17. By: Alessandro Fedele; Raffaele Miniaci
    Abstract: Using a longitudinal data set of balance sheets of 504 nonprofit and for-profit firms operating in the social residential sector in Italy, we investigate the relation between capital structure and type of enterprise. The nondistribution constraint typical of nonprofit organizations rises the fraction of own capital on total investment: this is shown, by means of a theoretical moral hazard model, to reduce their leverage (i). By contrast, the intrinsecally high committment of nonprofit entrepreneurs weakens the moral hazard problem: this augments leverage (ii). Our empirical analysis shows that once control for observable characteristics for-profit companies have a leverage 6% higher than nonprofit enterprises, even if the latter faces lower credit costs. We explain this finding by arguing that effect (i) prevails on effect (ii).
    Date: 2009

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