nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒01‒30
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. The effects of the social norm on cigarette consumption: evidence from Japan using panel data By Yamamura, Eiji
  2. Regions as Networks: Towards a Conceptual Framework of Territorial Dynamics By Carlos Brito; Ricardo Correia
  3. Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections By Henry S. Farber
  4. Building Social Trust- A Human Capital Approach By Fali Huang
  5. A P2P File Sharing Network Topology Formation Algorithm Based on Social Network Information By Jorn Altmann; Zelalem Berhanu Bedane
  6. To Trust or to Monitor- A Dynamic Analysis By Fali Huang
  7. On Understanding the Human Nature of Good and Bad Behavior in Business: A Behavioral Ethics Approach By Cremer, D. de
  8. Youth Employment in Europe: Institutions and Social Capital Explain Better than Mainstream Economics By Bruno Contini
  9. Altruism and Career Concerns By Shchetinin, Oleg
  10. Social Fragmentation and Public Goods Revisiting the Olson's Effect in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar By Catherine Bros
  11. Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment By Catia Batista; Pedro Vicente

  1. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: Using Japan’s prefecture-level panel data from 1989-2001, this paper examines the influence of the social norm on a person’s smoking behavior when the complementary relationship between smoking and drinking is taken into account. The key findings through a dynamic panel model controlling for unobserved prefecture-specific fixed effects are as follows: (1) Influence from others is stronger when people live more closely and cohesively. A tightly knit society results in a reduction of smoking through smoking-related interaction. (2) Smoking and drinking have a complementary relationship: greater initial consumption of alcohol results in larger consumption of cigarettes. (3) The complementary relationship between smoking and dinking is attenuated if the cost of committing the annoying conduct (i.e., smoking) is high. Overall, this empirical study provides evidence that the psychological effect of the presence of surrounding people has a direct significant effect upon smoking behavior and, furthermore, that it attenuates the complementary relationship between smoking and drinking, thereby reducing cigarette consumption. These results indicate that not only formal rules but also tacitly formed informal norms are effective deterrents to smoking.
    Keywords: Smoking behavior; Social norm
    JEL: I11 I12 Z13
    Date: 2010–01–20
  2. By: Carlos Brito (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto); Ricardo Correia (Escola Superior de Comunicação Administração e Turismo – Instituto Politécnico de Bragança)
    Abstract: Regions interact with multiple actors and industrial companies are one of the most important players in this interaction. By their strategic actions and relationships, companies are simultaneously present in different regions and influence a territory’s dynamics and structure. Moreover, territorial characteristics are also a condition that can shape a company’s action. This reciprocal influence is recognized by an emerging theoretical background of relational geography. Within the industrial network approach interest in this phenomenon is also increasing. However, the interactions between companies and regions have not been sufficiently explained. Thus, the main objective of this working paper is to produce new knowledge about the dynamics and interactions between regions and industrial networks. More precisely, the authors want to explain how companies’ strategic action is reflected in territorial dynamics and structure and how such factors affect the companies’ strategic action. Based on extensive research of the interactive relations between companies and regions, a model aimed at providing a better understanding of this mutual influence was developed.
    Keywords: industrial networks, relationships, territory, regional development
    JEL: R19
    Date: 2010–01
  3. By: Henry S. Farber (Princeton University)
    Abstract: It is common observation that many individuals vote despite the fact that in elections with even a moderate number of voters, the probability their vote will be pivotal is quite small. The theoretical solutions of positing that individuals receive utility from the act of voting itself "explains" why individuals vote, but it leaves open the question of whether or not there is a significant margin of individuals who consider the effect of their vote on the outcome in deciding whether or not to vote. I develop a rational choice model of voting in union representation elections (government supervised secret ballot elections, generally held at the workplace, on the question of whether the workers would like to be represented by a union.) These elections provide a particularly good laboratory to study voter behavior because many of the elections have sufficiently few eligible voters that individuals can have a substantial probability of being pivotal. I implement this model empirically using data on over 75,000 of these elections held from 1972-2009. The results suggest that most individuals (over 80 percent) vote in these elections independent of consideration of the likehood that they will be pivotal. Among the reminder, it appears the 1) the likelihood of voting falls with election size, 2) the likelihood of voting increases with the expected closeness of the election outcome, and 3) the marginal effect of closeness on the likehood of voting increases in magnitude with election size. While the first two findings are consistant with the standard rational choice model, the third is not. The results suggest that, while these individuals consider first-order variation in the probability that they will be pivotal, they do not carry out a complete calculation of the probability of being pivotal.
    Keywords: Union elections, voting behavior, rational choice
    JEL: H39 J08 J29
    Date: 2009–10
  4. By: Fali Huang (Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: Much evidence suggests individuals differ in their predisposition to cooperate, which is essentially a component of human capital. This paper examines the role of individual cooperative tendencies and their interactions with institutions in generating social trust; it also endogenizes cooperative tendencies using a human capital investment model. Multiple equilibria and inefficiencies exist due to positive externalities. An innovative finding is that, when institutions are more effective in punishing defecting behaviors, more people invest in cooperative tendencies and hence the endogenous social trust is higher, though the equilibrium cooperative tendencies are lower. This paper provides a plausible explanation for many empirical and experimental results.
    Keywords: human capital, human capital investment model, endogenous social trust, cooperative tendencies
    JEL: Z13 J24
    Date: 2010–01
  5. By: Jorn Altmann; Zelalem Berhanu Bedane (TEMEP, School of Industrial and Management Engineering College of Engineering, Seoul National University)
    Abstract: This paper applies the theory of social networks to P2P systems, creating a social-network-based P2P network topology formation algorithm for file sharing. The algorithm extends the Gnutella P2P file sharing technology, which uses super nodes for searching and for relaying shared files between network leafs that are located behind Firewalls/NATs. The topology of the P2P network is based on the actual social relationship between peers (users). The idea is that users are willing to contribute their resources to a P2P network if they know that their resources directly benefit their friends and family. Following this approach, free-riding in P2P networks will be avoided by not providing better-than-basic service if peers do not reveal their social relationships. Within the paper, we simulate the proposed topology formation algorithm, considering the real characteristics of the Gnutella P2P network and realistic network topologies. The simulation shows the effectiveness of the topology formation algorithm and the high utility of nodes under this new file sharing scheme.
    Keywords: social network analysis, peer-to-peer, economics, network science, free- riding, file sharing, sociology, NATs, utility, Gnutella, Firewalls, network economics, incentive mechanisms
    JEL: C13 C14 C61 C62 C63 D01 D02 D82 D85 L96 L96 M21
    Date: 2010–01
  6. By: Fali Huang (Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: In a principal–agent framework, principals can mitigate moral hazard problems not only through extrinsic incentives such as monitoring, but also through agents’ intrinsic trustworthiness. Their relative usage, however, changes over time and varies across societies. This paper attempts to explain this phenomenon by endogenizing agent trustworthiness as a response to potential returns. When monitoring becomes relatively cheaper over time, agents acquire lower trustworthiness, which may actually drive up the overall governance cost in society. Across societies, those giving employees lower weights in choosing governance methods tend to have higher monitoring intensities and lower trust. These results are consistent with the empirical evidence.
    Keywords: Monitoring, Trustworthiness, Trust, Screening, Economic Governance
    JEL: D2 J5 L2 M5 Z13
    Date: 2010–01
  7. By: Cremer, D. de (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: The numerous scandals in business, such as those at AIG, Tyco, WorldCom, Enron and Ahold, have made all of us concerned about the emergence of unethical and irresponsible behavior in organizations. Such widespread corruption in business and politics has, as result, prompted a growth of interest in the field of business ethics. At the same time, however, within the academic world it is also recognized that to tackle those unethical actions in an efficient way, the field of business ethics needs to integrate insights from behavioral science. In this inaugural address I focus more closely on the benefits that a behavioral approach can bring to the field of business ethics. In presenting these benefits, I draw a distinction between prescriptive and descriptive approaches and outline how the field of psychology can help in integrating these two perspectives so that we can move towards a more comprehensive understanding of behavioral business ethics. This integration is illustrated by my own research addressing how sanctioning and regulation systems affect behavior, the benefits of procedural fairness and the workings of trust repair strategies. Finally, I formulate some implications for academia, the government and economics.
    Keywords: business ethics;behavioral ethics;descriptive;trust repair;sanctions;procedural fairness
    Date: 2009–10–23
  8. By: Bruno Contini
    Abstract: Why did employment growth - high in the last decade– take place at the expense of young workers in the countries of Central and Southern Europe ? This is the question addressed in this paper. Youth unemployment has approached or exceeded 20% despite a variety of factors, common to most EU countries. According to neo-classical economics all would be expected to exert a positive impact on its evolution: population ageing and the demographic decline, low labor cost of young workers, flexibility of working arrangements, higher educational attainment, low unionization of young workers, early retirement practices of workers 50+. But neither seems to provide a convincing explanation. Historically based institutions and political tradition, cultural values, social capital – factors that go beyond the standard explanation of economic theory – provide a more satisfying interpretation.
    Keywords: youth employment, unemployment, social capital, institutions.
    JEL: J J0 J1 J6
    Date: 2009
  9. By: Shchetinin, Oleg (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: The paper studies the impact of altruism on Agent’s motivation in the career concerns model. I show that career concerns incentive is lessened by altruism. As a consequence, altruism can decrease effort, though conventional wisdom suggests that effort should always be higher for the more altruistic worker. This means that not only intrinsic motivation can be crowded by extrinsic incentives; crowding effect can go in the opposite direction as well. This emphasizes a new channel of interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The paper also studies the effect of altruism on wage. Interestingly, the model provides an example of winner’s blessing and shows that ambitions can hinder altruistic relationship. The model can be naturally applied to the workplace relationship and to the local public good provision.<p>
    Keywords: Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation; Career concerns; Altruism; Crowding-out
    JEL: D64 D82 M52
    Date: 2010–01–22
  10. By: Catherine Bros (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, CSH - Centre de Sciences Humaines)
    Abstract: A vast recent literature has stressed social fragmentation's negative impact on the provision of public goods. This is a key issue, given that public goods availability has been reckoned as crucial to economic development, while developing countries' societies often exhibit high degrees of fragmentation. Although it has been well established both empirically and theoretically that fragmentation is detrimental to collective action, two caveats ought to be considered. First, a high level of social fragmentation is often associated with greater inequality, which, as Olson pointed out, may be beneficial to collective action. In Olson's argument, should most of the public goods benefits accrue to a small number of group members, they are encouraged to invest in group activities, given that their stakes in the collective action are quite high. Second, should access to publicly provided goods be restricted to the elite, a positive relationship may be found between fragmentation and ethnically based patronage. Given that both patronage and inequality are common in developing countries, it is surprising that fragmentation has never been found to have a positive effect on the provision of public goods. This article aims at showing that not only does this positive relationship exist, but it is linked to the presence of wealthy individuals who are in a position to deny access to public goods to other groups members.
    Keywords: Political economy, public goods, collective action, inequality, Olson, Caste, India.
    Date: 2009–10
  11. By: Catia Batista (Department of Economics and Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin; IZA); Pedro Vicente (Department of Economics and Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin; CSAE-Oxford; BREAD)
    Abstract: This paper tests the hypothesis that international migration experiences may promote better institutions at home by raising the demand for political accountability. In order to examine this question, we use a simple postcard voting experiment designed to capture the population’s desire for better governance. Using data from a tailored household survey, we examine the determinants of voting behavior in our experiment, and isolate the positive effect of international emigration on the demand for political accountability. We find that this effect can be mainly attributed to the presence of return migrants, particularly to those who emigrated to countries with better governance.
    Keywords: international migration, governance, political accountability, institutions, effects of emigration in origin countries, household survey, Cape Verde, sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: F22 O12 O15 O43 P16
    Date: 2009–12

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