nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒03‒28
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Trapped by Over-Embeddedness: The Effects of Regional Social Capital on Internationalization By Francesca Masciarelli; Keld Laursen; Andrea Prencipe
  2. New Co-operatives in China: An Indigenous Model of Social Enterprises By Li Zhao; Patrick Develtere
  3. When the Cat's Away, the Mice Will Play: Gambling Behaviour of Visitors in Australia By Bin Dong; Benno Torgler
  4. Normative Evolution in Europe: Small States and Republican Peace. By Kostas A. Lavdas
  5. Labor Migration and Social Networks Participation: Evidence from Southern Mozambique By Juan M. Gallegoy; Mariapia Mendola
  6. Guilt from Promise-Breaking and Trust in Markets for Expert Services – Theory and Experiment By Beck, Adrian; Kerschbamer, Rudolf; Qiu, Jianying; Sutter, Matthias
  7. Determinants of R&D cooperation in Japanese high-tech start-ups By Okamuro, Hiroyuki; Kato, Masatoshi; Honjo, Yuji
  8. Neighbourhood effects and endogeneity issues By DUJARDIN, Claire; PEETERS, Dominique; THOMAS, Isabelle
  9. Happiness and childbearing across Europe By Arnstein Aassve; Maria Sironi; Alice Goisis
  10. Questionario e guida pratica per la misurazione del capitale sociale By Sabatini, Fabio

  1. By: Francesca Masciarelli; Keld Laursen; Andrea Prencipe
    Abstract: Drawing on social capital theory and international business literature, we argue that firms’ home region social capital increases the degree of firms’ internationalization for both goods and knowledge. Beyond a certain level of social capital, however, firms become over-embedded in their home region social relationships so that the degree of internationalization decreases. We also conjecture that firms’ investment in research and development moderates the relationship between home region social capital and the degree of internationalization for goods and knowledge in a positive fashion. Combining data on social capital at the level of 21 regions with a large-scale data set on internationalization activities by a representative sample of around 2000 Italian manufacturing firms, we find—after controlling for a large set of firm and regional characteristics—overall support for our theoretical arguments.
    Keywords: Regional social capital; Internationalization; Research and development; over-embeddedness
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Li Zhao (HIVA, Catholic University of Leuven); Patrick Develtere (HIVA, Catholic University of Leuven)
    Abstract: This paper aims to fill the academic gaps in the study of the new co-operative movement in China and its innovative mechanisms, and to get a more comprehensive idea of new co-operatives operating as home-grown Chinese social enterprises, by exploring the dynamic process of co-operative practice and social innovation in rural China. As an alternative to the popularly ideal-co-operative perspective, the paper develops a conceptual model from the perspective of a real-type co-operative concept, by employing a historical neo-institutional perspective combined with power-and-resource-related theory. Using this model it shows how institutional legacies from the past as well as resources and environments in the present can influence and shape co-operative development in rural China. By providing a consistent, systematic analysis with an emphasis on the bottom-up institutional innovation process, the paper helps to explain some of the conceptual and practical difficulties that hamper the understanding of new co-operative development in China.
    Keywords: China, Social enterprise, Land-based shareholding co-operative, Real type co-operative model, Path-depency, Resource-depency
    JEL: N45 N55 O13 P13 P26 P32 P35
    Date: 2010–01
  3. By: Bin Dong; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: What happens if national legal laws or enforcements and social norms are no longer able to directly regulate individual behaviour? According to our knowledge, not much empirical evidence has emerged answering such a seemingly simple question. The challenge is to distinguish between the effects of social norm and of legal enforcement. One way to explore such a question in an almost natural quasi-experimental setting is to focus on tourists’ behaviour. Tourists are visiting another country for a relatively short period of time and are acting in a different (legal) environment where formal and informal rules are different to those found in their own country. Using data from Australia we focus on gambling activities since these are prohibited in some countries. We find that tourists from countries where gambling is prohibited spend a significantly larger share of their entertainment expenditure on gambling than those who come from countries where gambling is legalized. Thus, gambling increases ("mice play") without legal enforcement ("when the cat is away"). It is also noteworthy that there seems to be a lack of internalized social norms that would prevent tourists from partaking in these gambling activities.
    Keywords: gambling; legal enforcement; social norms
    JEL: A13 K42 L82
    Date: 2010–03
  4. By: Kostas A. Lavdas
    Abstract: Understanding today’s EU requires a prism which is attentive to the interactions between the polity-building and world-inhabiting facets of the emerging polity. We cannot separate developing a theory of the EU as a polity from determining its placement in the world. Norms of cooperation become crucial in this endeavour: as they search for credible tools to interpret and master a changing Europe in a changing world, actors distil their experience in close and repeated cooperation with a view to enhancing their knowledge of and influence over complex games of advanced hyper-dependence. The normative underpinnings of today’s European construction can be approached in three steps. First, drawing inspiration from Thucydides, we demonstrate that the norms that count are neither religious in origin nor based primarily on custom and tradition. Next, we point to the significance of small states in norm development by explaining that the norms in question have been influenced by the practices and rationalizations associated with small-states behaviour, adaptability and survival. Finally, we suggest that the norms in question have evolved in interaction with a powerful current in Euro-Atlantic political thought and sensibility: republicanism. The paper identifies two main sets of norms in today’s EU: one stemming from previous experiences within the international system and the other developing with the new polity-in-the-making.
    Date: 2010–01
  5. By: Juan M. Gallegoy; Mariapia Mendola
    Abstract: This paper investigates how social networks in poor developing settings are af- fected if people migrate. By using an unique household survey from two southern regions in Mozambique, we test the role of labor mobility in shaping participation in groups and social networks by migrant sending households in village economies at origin. We find that households with successful migrants (i.e. those receiving either remittances or return migration) engage more in community based social networks. Our findings are robust to alternative definitions of social interaction and to endogeneity concerns suggesting that stable migration ties and higher income stability through remittances may decrease participation constraints and increase household commitment in cooperative arrangements in migrant-sending communities.
    Keywords: International Migration, Social Capital, Networks, Group Participation, Mozambique
    JEL: O17 O15 O12
    Date: 2010–02
  6. By: Beck, Adrian (Department of Economics, University of Innsbruck); Kerschbamer, Rudolf (Department of Economics, University of Innsbruck); Qiu, Jianying (Department of Economics, University of Innsbruck); Sutter, Matthias (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: We examine the influence of guilt and trust on the performance of credence goods markets. An expert can make a promise to a consumer first, whereupon the consumer can express her trust by paying an interaction price before the expert's provision and charging decisions. We argue that the expert's promise induces a commitment that triggers guilt if the promise is broken, and guilt is exacerbated by higher interaction prices. An experiment qualitatively confirms our predictions: (1) most experts make the predicted promise; (2) proper promises induce consumer-friendly behavior; and (3) higher interaction prices increase the commitment value of proper promises.<p>
    Keywords: Promises; Guilt; Trust; Credence Goods; Experts; Reciprocity
    JEL: C72 C91 D82
    Date: 2010–03–17
  7. By: Okamuro, Hiroyuki; Kato, Masatoshi; Honjo, Yuji
    Abstract: This paper explores the determinants of R&D cooperation in Japanese hightech start-ups. Using a sample from an original survey conducted in 2008, we examine the effects of founder-, firm-, and industry-specific characteristics on R&D cooperation by the type of partners. Our findings indicate that founder-specific characteristics, such as educational background, academic affiliation, and prior innovation output, are fairly important in determining R&D cooperation with universities and public research institutes. We also provide evidence that founders' work experience and prior innovation output have positive and significant effects on R&D cooperation with business partners. With respect to firm-specific characteristics, it is found that firms investing more in R&D tend to engage in R&D cooperation, regardless of the type of partners. Furthermore, it is found that independent firms are less likely to cooperate on R&D with universities and public research institutes, than subsidiaries and affiliated firms.
    Keywords: Start-up, R&D cooperation, Founder, University, Business partner
    JEL: L14 M13 O32
    Date: 2009–11
  8. By: DUJARDIN, Claire (UniversitŽ catholique de Louvain (UCL). Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)); PEETERS, Dominique (UniversitŽ catholique de Louvain (UCL). Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)); THOMAS, Isabelle (UniversitŽ catholique de Louvain (UCL). Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))
    Abstract: A recent body of research suggests that the spatial structure of cities might influence the socioeconomic characteristics and outcomes of their residents. In particular, the literature on neighbourhood effects emphasizes the potential influence of the socioeconomic composition of neighbourhoods in shaping individualÕs behaviours and outcomes, through social networks, peer influences or socialization effects. However, empirical work still has not reached a consensus regarding the existence and magnitude of such effects. This is mainly because the study of neighbourhood effects raises important methodological concerns that have not often been taken into account. Notably, as individuals with similar socio-economic characteristics tend to sort themselves into certain parts of the city, the estimation of neighbourhood effects raises the issue of location choice endogeneity. Indeed, it is difficult to distinguish between neighbourhood effects and correlated effects, i.e. similarities in behaviours and outcomes arising from individuals having similar characteristics. This problem, if not dequately corrected for, may yield biased results. In the first part of this paper, neighbourhood effects are defined and some methodological problems involved in measuring such effects are identified. Particular attention is paid to the endogeneity issue, giving a formal definition of the problem and reviewing the main methods that have been used in the literature to try to solve it. The second part is devoted to an empirical illustration of the study of neighbourhood effects, in the case of labour-market outcomes of young adults in Brussels. The effect of living in a deprived neighbourhood on the unemployment probability of young adults residing in Brussels is estimated using logistic regressions. The endogeneity of neighbourhood is addressed by restricting the sample to young adults residing with their parents. Then, a ensitivity analysis is used to assess the robustness of the results to the presence of both observed and unobserved parental covariates.
    Keywords: neighbourhood effects, endogeneity, self-selection, sensitivity analysis, Brussels
    JEL: R0 J6 C1
    Date: 2009–09–01
  9. By: Arnstein Aassve; Maria Sironi; Alice Goisis
    Abstract: In this paper we analyse the relationship between happiness and childbearing taking a comparative perspective. We argue that fertility and happiness are somewhat linked and we investigate whether there are important differences across European countries. Using happiness as a welfare measure offers important benefits over income especially when interest lies in understanding how individuals' wellbeing is associated with childbearing outcomes. We use the European Social Survey (ESS) and apply simple regression techniques, controlling for country differences, and find indeed a positive and significant association between happiness and childbearing. However, parents do not appear to be consistently happier in some countries than in others. The final set of analyses reveals a very strong interconnection between, childbearing, partnership and happiness.
    Keywords: happiness, childbearing, European social survey, ESS
    Date: 2009–07
  10. By: Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: Questo paper presenta un questionario e una guida pratica per la misurazione del capitale sociale. Il lavoro vuole costituire un vero e proprio manuale rivolto a ricercatori, studenti e docenti, consulenti di impresa e operatori del terzo settore che per qualsiasi ragione, dalla redazione della tesi di laurea alla valutazione dell’assetto organizzativo di un’azienda, siano alle prese con la misurazione del capitale sociale e di altri fenomeni poco tangibili ma economicamente rilevanti. In questo contesto, il capitale sociale è trattato nelle sue molteplici sfaccettature. Ciascuna dimensione è fotografata da un gruppo di domande, elaborate a partire dalle considerazioni fornite dalla letteratura teorica oppure dagli spunti provenienti dalla ricerca empirica. This paper presents a guidebook and a questionnaire for the measurement of social capital. Our aim is to provide researchers, teachers, students, and practictioners with a set of practical instructions and tools to carry out empirical research on social capital and other related intangible assets.
    Keywords: capitale sociale; imprenditorialità; beni relazionali; fiducia; norme sociali; reti; partecipazione sociale; partecipazione politica; social capital; entrepreneurship; intangible assets; social norms; relational goods; trust; networks; social participation; political participation
    JEL: A13 C81 Z13 R23
    Date: 2010–03–11

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