nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒03‒20
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Vendettas By Friedel Bolle; Jonathan H.W. Tan; Daniel John Zizzo
  2. Understanding Interactions in Social Networks and Committees By Arnab Bhattacharjee; Sean Holly
  3. The Relationship between Social Capital and Corporate Social Responsibility: Modelling Cognitive Social Capital and CSR as Preconditions of Sustainable Networks of Relations By Giacomo Degli Antoni; Lorenzo Sacconi
  4. Happy house: Spousal weight and individual well-being By Andrew E. Clark; Fabrice Etilé
  5. Social Distance, Cooperation and Other Regarding Preferences: A New Approach Based on the Theory of Relational Goods By Leonardo Becchetti; Giacomo Degli Antoni; Marco Faillo
  6. Trust Building and Usage Control for Electronic Business Processes By Tafreschi, Omid
  7. Geographic clustering and network evolution of innovative activities: Evidence from China’s patents By Martha Prevezer; Pietro Panzarasa; Tore Opsahl
  8. Reexamining the link between gender and corruption: The role of social institutions By Boris Branisa; Maria Ziegler
  9. Reciprocity and Incentive Pay in the Workplace By Dur, Robert; Non, Arjan; Roelfsema, Hein
  10. Religious affiliation and economic development: a recent literature review By Olimid , Anca Parmena
  12. Social psychology and environmental economics : a new look at ex ante corrections of biased preference evaluation By Nicolas Jacquemet; Alexander G. James; Stéphane Luchini; Jason F. Shogren
  13. Paying the Price of Sweetening Your Donation: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment By Alpízar, Francisco; Martinsson, Peter
  14. Political, social and religious dimensions in the fight against HIV/AIDS : Negotiating worldviews, facing practical challenges By Bartelink, B.; Pape, U.

  1. By: Friedel Bolle (European University Viadrina); Jonathan H.W. Tan (University of Nottingham); Daniel John Zizzo (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: Vendettas occur in many real world settings where rivals compete for a prize, e.g., winning an election or a competitive promotion, by engaging in retaliatory aggressive behavior. We present a benchmark experiment where two players have an initial probability of winning a prize. Retaliatory vendettas occur and lead agents to the worst possible outcomes in 60% to 80% of cases, counter to self interest predictions, and regardless of whether initial winning probabilities are equal or unequal. Negative emotions are important and interact with economic settings to produce large social inefficiencies. Venting emotions predicts aggression but also reduces it.
    Keywords: trust, income inequality, market, social capital
    JEL: C91 C72 H41 D64
    Date: 2010–02
  2. By: Arnab Bhattacharjee; Sean Holly
    Abstract: While much of the literature on cross section dependence has fo?cused mainly on estimation of the regression coefficients in the under?lying model, estimation and inferences on the magnitude and strength of spill-overs and interactions has been largely ignored. At the same time, such inferences are important in many applications, not least because they have structural interpretations and provide useful inter?pretation and structural explanation for the strength of any interac?tions. In this paper we propose GMM methods designed to uncover underlying (hidden) interactions in social networks and committees. Special attention is paid to the interval censored regression model. Our methods are applied to a study of committee decision making within the Bank of England¡¯s monetary policy committee.
    Keywords: Committee Decision Making, Social Networks, Cross Section and Spatial Interaction, Generalised Method of Moments, Censored Regression Model, Expectation-Maximisation Algorithm, Monetary Policy, Interest Rates.
    JEL: D71 D85 E43 E52 C31 C34
    Date: 2010–09
  3. By: Giacomo Degli Antoni (University of Milano-Bicocca); Lorenzo Sacconi (University of Trento - Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Over the last few years, more and more attention has been devoted to trust trustworthiness and social norms of reciprocity and cooperation as key factors able to promote socio-economic development. Even though from different perspective, both the concept of social capital and the notion of corporate social responsibility refer to these elements. Since the seminal work by Putnam, Leonardi and Nanetti (1993) that focuses on the effects of social capital (hereafter also SC) on economic and government performance, the concept of SC has been widely used to analyse the role that interpersonal relations have in affecting economic activity by favouring cooperation. Many definitions of social capital have been proposed and two principal approaches to this concept may be identified. On one hand, social capital is defined in terms of generalised trust, civic norms, beliefs and dispositions which affect the propensity to cooperate (e.g. Putnam et al. 1993 and Knack and Keefer 1997). On the other hand, social capital is defined in terms of cooperative networks among agents (e.g. Coleman 1988; Lin 2001; Burt 2002). Many approaches also characterize the notion of corporate social responsibility (hereafter also CSR). In particular, if we consider the stakeholder approach (Freeman 1984, 2000, Freeman and Evan 1990) or the contractarian approach to CSR (Sacconi 2004; 2006; 2007 a,b), relational aspects, in terms of trust, trustworthiness, beliefs and dispositions to cooperate seem to be fundamental in promoting the coordination processes between the firm and its stakeholders that are essential to implement CSR practices.1 Even though several common elements seem to connect SC and CSR, their relationship has not yet been analysed in depth. In this paper we model the relationship between the firm and its stakeholders and analytically show the role that (cognitive) social capital and corporate social responsibility play in generating (structural) social capital.
    Date: 2010–03
  4. By: Andrew E. Clark; Fabrice Etilé
    Abstract: We use life satisfaction and Body Mass Index (BMI) information from three waves of the GSOEP to test for social interactions in BMI between spouses. Semi-parametric regressions show that partner's BMI is, beyond a certain level, negatively correlated with own satisfaction. Own BMI is positively correlated with satisfaction in thin men, and negatively correlated with satisfaction after some threshold. Critically, this latter threshold increases with partner's BMI when the individual is overweight. The negative well-being impact of own BMI is thus lower when the individual's partner is heavier. This is consistent with social contagion effects in weight. However, instrumental variable estimates suggest that the relationship is not causal, but rather reflects selection on the marriage market.
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Giacomo Degli Antoni (EconomEtica); Marco Faillo (University of Trento - Faculty of Economics)
    Abstract: The paper is divided in six sections. In the second section we provide a short survey of the literature on relational goods. In the third section we describe the experimental design of the two experiments presented in Becchetti et al. (2007) and Becchetti, Degli Antoni and Faillo (2009) (hereafter also B2007 and B2009). In the fourth section we discuss the hypotheses on the effect of relational goods on players’ behaviour in the two experiments. In the fifth section we discuss the main findings. The sixth section concludes.
    Date: 2010–03
  6. By: Tafreschi, Omid
    Abstract: Information technology (IT) supports companies to streamline their business processes. The main contributions of IT are the digitalization of data and efficient communication networks, which allow companies to automatize their business processes and thus increase their efficiency, i.e., their value creation. This effort started with the optimization of internal business processes within a company. Nowadays, it also includes external business processes, in which multiple enterprises and even customers are involved. However, using IT also causes undesirable side effects for companies. They are exposed to a wide range of vulnerabilities and threats. Digitalizing data, e.g., documents, spurs the access to that data and the exchange of it. However, a disadvantageous result of digitalizing data is the increased risk of unauthorized access to that data. Communication networks provide an excellent foundation for collaboration between companies. At the same time, the open and anonymous character of communication networks is a reason for distrust towards business partners offering their goods and services over such networks. As a result of these undesirable side effects, the outcome of a certain business process supported by IT may be suboptimal or companies may refrain from using IT. Against this background, this thesis focuses on securing electronic business processes with regard to two aspects, i.e., building trust in open networks and controlling the usage of digital objects. Trust is the prerequisite for all kinds of commercial transactions. Using reputation information is one possible way to build up trust among business partners. In this thesis, we propose two new reputation systems to establish trust for ad-hoc processes in open markets. The first reputation system facilitates trust building in the context of electronic negotiations which are performed with the help of a centralized system. The reputation system enables companies to find trustworthy business partners and provides decision support during a negotiation. The second reputation system supports trust building in decentralized Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. A main feature of this system is its robustness against coalition attacks, which is proven with the help of a simulation. Controlling the usage of digital objects demands two functionalities. First, we need methods for defining usage rules. Second, mechanisms for enforcing the defined usage rules are required. In this thesis, we address both aspects of usage control. Digital documents play a central role in business processes, since they are a means of integration and are handled among business partners. Some documents are sensitive and thus have to be protected from being accessed by unauthorized parties. For this purpose, we propose a flexible and expressive access control model for electronic documents. Our model captures the information about the operations performed on documents. This history information can be used to define access control rules. Customers are involved in the execution of special kinds of business processes, such as selling and consuming digital goods. In these cases, digital goods have to be protected from being used in an unauthorized way, e.g., being shared in public networks. Thus, the trustworthiness of customers' platforms has to be verified before transferring digital goods. For this, we propose a robust integrity reporting protocol which is necessary when a remote platform has to perform security relevant operations, e.g., to enforce a security policy which controls the usage of digital content. This integrity reporting protocol is a building block of a new Digital Rights Management system which is also presented in this thesis. This system provides a high protection level. At the same time, it allows users to transfer their purchased content to other devices or users.
    Keywords: Trust Building, Usage Control, Electronic Business Processes
    Date: 2009–06–04
  7. By: Martha Prevezer; Pietro Panzarasa; Tore Opsahl
    Abstract: This study examines the spatial distribution and social structure of processes of learning and knowledge creation within the context of the inventor network connecting Chinese patent teams. Results uncover mixed tendencies toward both geographic co-location and dispersion arising from combined processes of intra-cluster learning and extra-cluster networking. These processes unfold within a social network that becomes less fragmented over time: as a giant component emerges and increases in size, social distances among inventors become longer. The interplay between geographic and network proximity is assessed against China’s institutional environment. Implications of the findings are discussed for regional development and policy-making.
    Keywords: clusters; knowledge transfer; social networks; patenting
    JEL: L11 M13 O53 R12
    Date: 2010–03
  8. By: Boris Branisa (University of Göttingen); Maria Ziegler (University of Göttingen)
    Abstract: In this paper we reexamine the link between gender inequality and corruption. We review the literature on the relationship between representation of women in economic and political life, democracy and corruption, and bring in a new previously omitted variable that captures the level of discrimination against women in a society: social institutions related to gender inequality. Using a sample of developing countries we regress corruption on the representation of women, democracy and other control variables. Then we add the subindex civil liberties from the OECD Gender, Institutions and DevelopmentDatabase as the measure of social institutions related to gender inequality. The results show that corruption is higher in countries where social institutions deprive women of their freedom to participate in social life, even accounting for democracy and representation of women in political and economic life as well as for other variables. Our findings suggest that, in a context where social values disadvantage women, it might not be enough to push democratic reforms and to increase the participation of women to reduce corruption.
    Keywords: Social institutions; Gender inequality; Corruption
    JEL: D63 D73 J16
    Date: 2010–03–03
  9. By: Dur, Robert (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Non, Arjan (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Roelfsema, Hein (Utrecht School of Economics)
    Abstract: We study optimal incentive contracts for workers who are reciprocal to management attention. When neither worker's effort nor manager's attention can be contracted, a double moral-hazard problem arises, implying that reciprocal workers should be given weak financial incentives. In a multiple-agent setting, this problem can be resolved using promotion incentives. We empirically examine these predictions using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel. We find that workers who are more reciprocal are significantly more likely to receive promotion incentives, while there is no such relation for individual bonus pay.
    Keywords: reciprocity, social exchange, incentive contracts, double moral hazard, GSOEP
    JEL: D86 J41 M51 M52 M54 M55
    Date: 2010–02
  10. By: Olimid , Anca Parmena
    Abstract: This article provides an overview of the recent literature relevant to the study of the relation between economics and religion. The paper also appeals to the critical review on the implications of religious markets and church-state relation. The study argues that economic development depress religiosity. Subsequent comments will be linked to a much more comprehensive literature on the social and economic consequences of religious beliefs.
    Keywords: religiosity; economic development; state; society
    JEL: Z12 N3
    Date: 2010–03–04
  11. By: Bronisz, Urszula; Heijman, Wim
    Abstract: This article aims at presenting different approaches to the phenomenon of social capital. The concept of social capital is ambiguous and that is why we will highlight a number of definitions of this notion. The central attention of the paper focuses on the relationship between social capital and regional development and competitiveness. The fundamental question concerns the impact of social capital on the regional economic performance. Hence, we will survey the empirical examination of 16 Polish regions in terms of social capital. We will also study whether the regional level of social capital depends on the level of competitiveness. The purpose of this article is also to make a contribution to the discussion concerning the relationship between economic development and social capital.
    Keywords: Social capital, Regional growth, Polish regions, Community/Rural/Urban Development, International Development, Labor and Human Capital,
    Date: 2009–12
  12. By: Nicolas Jacquemet (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Alexander G. James (University of Wyoming - Department of Economics and Finance); Stéphane Luchini (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579); Jason F. Shogren (University of Wyoming - Department of Economics and Finance)
    Abstract: Environmental economics is now a long standing field of research ; much has been learned on how environmental policy can use incentives to drive individual behaviors. Among the many examples, preference elicitation is the most discussed case in which incentives fail to accurately implement efficient behavior. Using this as our motivating example, herein we explore the cross-fertilization between environmental economics and social psychology. We first review how the lessons drawn from social psychology helped address the hypothetical bias issue. We then turn to the future of this process by focusing on how cheap talk scripts influence preference elicitation. Our experimental results shows CT scripts work through persuasion – i.e. changes mind, but poorly changes actions. in that sense, preference elicitation still lacks a way of making communication binding – i.e. a way to alter intrinsic motivation of subjects to behave truthfully.
    Keywords: Social psychology, commitment, persuasive communication, preference elicitation.
    Date: 2010–02
  13. By: Alpízar, Francisco; Martinsson, Peter
    Abstract: Using a natural field experiment in a recreational site, a public good almost fully dependent on voluntary donations, we explored the crowding-out effect of gift rewards. First, we investigated whether receiving a map in appreciation of a donation crowded out prosocial behavior and found no significant effect of giving the map. Second, we explored the effect of adding the map to a treatment designed to increase donations. Interestingly, when the gift was combined with our attempt to trigger reputational and self image motives, the probability of donating decreased significantly, compared to the social reference treatment alone.
    Keywords: crowding-out, donation, natural field experiment, reciprocity
    JEL: C93 D10 D60 Q50
    Date: 2010–02–22
  14. By: Bartelink, B.; Pape, U. (Groningen University)
    Date: 2010

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