nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒04‒04
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. The Causes of Corruption: Evidence from China By Bin Dong; Benno Torgler
  2. Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility By Jean Tirole; Roland Bénabou
  3. Entrepreneurs, formalisation of social ties and trustbuilding in Europe (14th-20th centuries) By Guido Alfani; Vincent Gourdan
  4. Urban Violence Is not (Necessarily) a Way of Life By Rodgers, Dennis
  5. Why do People Punish the Rule Breakers?: The Sustainability of Social Norms By Singh, Indervir
  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. Constrained Interactions and Social Coordination By Mathias Staudigl; Simon Weidenholzer
  8. Identity and Fragmentation in Networks By Dev, Pritha
  9. Choosing `Me' and `My Friends': Identity in a Non-Cooperative Network Formation Game with Cost Sharing By Dev, Pritha
  10. The Role of Social Institutions in Inter-Generational Mobility By Brian Nolan; Gosta Esping-Andersen; Christopher T. Whelan; Bertrand Maitre
  11. Good girl–bad boy. Making identity statements when answering a questionnaire By Bente Halvorsen
  12. The differences in attitudes about their society between 14 year old pupils with and without an immigration background; a cross-national comparison By Prokic, Tijana; Dronkers, Jaap
  13. Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality By Jo Blanden; Paul Gregg; Lindsey Macmillan
  14. The geography and co-location of European technology-specific co-inventorship networks By Christ, Julian P.
  15. Inconsistency of fairness evaluation in simulated labot market. By Ch'ng , Kean Siang; Loke, Yiing Jia

  1. By: Bin Dong; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: In this study we explore in detail the causes of corruption in China using two different sets of data at the regional level (provinces and cities). We observe that regions with more anti-corruption efforts, histories of British rule, higher openness, more access to media and relatively higher wages of government employees are markedly less corrupt; while social heterogeneity, regulation, abundance of resource and state-owned enterprises substantially breed regional corruption. Moreover, fiscal decentralization is discovered to depress corruption significantly, while administrative decentralization fosters local corruption. We also find that there is currently a positive relationship between corruption and economic development in China that is mainly driven by the transition to a market economy.
    Keywords: Corruption; China; Government; Decentralization; Deterrence; Social Heterogenity
    JEL: D73 H11 K42
    Date: 2010–03
  2. By: Jean Tirole (Toulouse School of Economics); Roland Bénabou (Princeton University)
    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: 2010–02
  3. By: Guido Alfani; Vincent Gourdan
    Abstract: Recent developments in applications of network analysis to history are leading to a new way of thinking about how social and economic actors interacted in the past. Focus on the social tie has resulted in increased interest in relational instruments that have not previously been taken into great consideration. This article analyses some of these instruments, and particularly godparenthood and marriage witnessing, as ways to establish formal and public ties. It shows that formalisation, ritualisation and publicity of ties were used by entrepreneurs to establish trust with their business associates, in situations when information was asymmetric or when institutions were perceived as inefficient in guaranteeing mutual good behaviour. The paper underlines both factors of continuity and factors of change over time, from the Middle Ages to today, paying particular attention to the consequences of Reformation and Counter-Reformation on one hand, and of Industrial Revolution and Modernization on the other. It shows, in the light of the most recent literature, that much of what we think to know about the declining importance, for social and economic activity, of family ties and of weaker ties such as godparenthood, is actually a kind of prejudice originating from a twentieth-century ideology of the market in which ancient practices struggle to find a place but are not abandoned.
    Keywords: godparenthood, spiritual kinship, marriage witnesses, trust, entrepreneurship, Industrial Revolution, Reformation, formalisation of social ties
    Date: 2010–03
  4. By: Rodgers, Dennis
    Abstract: As the world moves towards its so-called urban ‘tipping point’, urbanization in the global South has increasingly come to be portrayed as the portent of a dystopian future characterized by ever-mounting levels of anarchy and brutality. The association between cities, violence, and disorder is not new, however. In a classic article on ‘Urbanism as a way of life’, Louis Wirth (1938: 23) famously links cities to ‘personal disorganization, mental breakdown, suicide, delinquency, crime, corruption, and disorder’. He does so on the grounds that the urban context constituted a space that naturally generated particular forms of social organization and collective action as a result of three key attributes: population size, density, and heterogeneity. Large numbers lead to a segmentation of human relations, the pre-eminence of secondary over primary social contact, and a utilitarianization of interpersonal relationships. Density produces increased competition, accelerates specialization, and engenders glaring contrasts that accentuate social friction. Heterogeneity induces more ramified and differentiated forms of social stratification, heightened individual mobility, and increased social fluidity. While large numbers, density, and heterogeneity can plausibly be considered universal features of cities, it is much less obvious that they necessarily lead to urban violence. This is a standpoint that is further reinforced by the fact that not all cities around the world – whether rapidly urbanizing or not – are violent, and taking off from Wirth’s characterization of the city, this paper therefore seeks to understand how and why under certain circumstances compact settlements of large numbers of heterogeneous individuals give rise to violence, while in others they don’t, focusing in particular on wider structural factors as seen through the specific lens of urban gang violence.
    Keywords: urbanism, violence, gangs, Chicago School of Sociology, Wirth
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Singh, Indervir
    Abstract: This paper attempts to provide reasons for sustainability of social norms by considering internalization as the basic motivation behind the punishment behavior. A society requires people to implant the social norms in others, and punishing the rule breaker provides a person utility by letting him feel good through fulfilling his responsibility. The responsibility increases with closeness of relationship, therefore relatives and friends tend to punish the rule breaker harder. The breaking of a norm also acts as a 'bad name' for rule breaker's relatives and friends, which, further, prompts them to punish him. Since, punishing the rule breaker also benefits non-punishers, some people may start selling the punishment activity, if the benefited people, due to their internalization of the norm, pay punishers in the form of money, support etc.
    Keywords: social norms; internalization; bad name; power asymmetry
    JEL: D02 Z13
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Beck, Adrian (University of Innsbruck); Kerschbamer, Rudolf (University of Innsbruck); Qiu, Jianying (University of Innsbruck); Sutter, Matthias (University of Innsbruck)
    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.
    Keywords: promises, guilt, trust, credence goods, experts, reciprocity
    JEL: C72 C91 D82
    Date: 2010–03
  7. By: Mathias Staudigl; Simon Weidenholzer
    Abstract: We consider a co-evolutionary model of social coordination and network formation whereagents may decide on an action in a 2 £ 2- coordination game and on whom to establish costly links to. We ¯nd that a payo® dominant convention is selected for a wider parameter range when agents may only support a limited number of links as compared to a scenario where agents are not constrained in their linking choice. The main reason behind this result is that constrained interactions create a tradeo® between the interactions an agent has and those he would rather have. Further, we discuss convex linking costs and provide su±cient conditions for the payo® dominant convention to be selected in m£m coordination games.
    JEL: C72 D83
    Date: 2010–03
  8. By: Dev, Pritha
    Abstract: This paper looks at the role of identity in the fragmentation of networks by incorporating the choice of commitment to identity characteristics, into a noncooperative network formation game. The Nash network will feature divisions based on identity, moreover, it will have layers of such divisions. Using the renement of strictness, I get stars of highly committed players linked together by less committed players. Next, I propose an empirical methodology to deduce which dimensions of identity cause the fragmentation of a given network. I propose a practical algorithm for the estimation and apply this to data from villages in Ghana.
    Keywords: Identity; Network formation; Community Structure
    JEL: C45 Z13 D85
    Date: 2010–03
  9. By: Dev, Pritha
    Abstract: This paper introduces the choice of identity characteristics, and, commitments to these characteristics, in a network formation model where links costs are shared. Players want to link to the largest group given that linking costs are decreasing (increasing) in commitments for same (different) identity. We study conditions under which these choices allow for networks with multiple identities. We find that whether the choice of identity itself gives any utility or not, there will be Nash networks featuring multiple identities. Moreover, if the choice of identity directly adds utility, networks with multiple identities will be efficient and survive the dynamic process.
    Keywords: Identity; Network Formation; Cost Sharing Links
    JEL: Z13 D85 C72
    Date: 2010–03
  10. By: Brian Nolan (School of Applied Social Science, University College Dublin); Gosta Esping-Andersen (Universitat Pompeu Fabre, Barcelona); Christopher T. Whelan (School of Sociology, University College Dublin); Bertrand Maitre (The Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)
    Abstract: The primary goal of inter-generational mobility (IGM) research has always been to explain how and why social origins influence peoples’ life chances. This has naturally placed family attributes at centre stage. But the role of social institutions, most notably education systems, as a mediating factor has also been central to IGM theory. Indeed, generations of stratification research were premised on the core assumption that equalizing access to education would weaken the impact of social origins. In theory, policies, institutions, as well as macro-economic and historical context, have been identified as crucial in shaping patterns of social mobility (D’Addio, 2007). But apart from education, empirical research has contributed little concrete evidence on how this occurs.
    Date: 2010–03–03
  11. By: Bente Halvorsen (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: Environmental policy analyses often draw on stated preferences, with most humans having strong preferences with respect to how we view ourselves and how we would like others to perceive us. This may create systematic differences between reported and real behavior, making policy analysis based on stated preferences difficult. In this paper, we model how social and moral norms and the image we would like to project affect reported and actual behavior. We illustrate the model using data from a stated preference survey reporting environment-related household behavior in ten OECD countries. We find clear evidence of how norms and identity statements affect reported behavior. We also find evidence of the misrepresentation of preferences, both among respondents complying with and protesting the norm. Over- and understatements appear to be evenly distributed, and is thus not expected to significantly bias the mean results.
    Keywords: Household behavior; Environment; Norms; Stated preferences.
    JEL: B41 D1 Q28 Q38 Q48
    Date: 2010–03
  12. By: Prokic, Tijana; Dronkers, Jaap
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the attitudes of 14 year old children of first and second generation immigrants and their civic attitudes about (aspects of) the society of destination. We use data from the Civic Education Study conducted by International Educational Association (IAE) in 1999. This Civic Education Study tests civic knowledge, civic attitudes and civic participation of 14 year old students. We have five dependent variables in 11 countries: trust in government related institution positive attitudes towards immigrants, positive attitudes towards one’s nation of residence positive attitudes towards women’s rights and civic participation. 14-year pupils with an immigrant background had stronger positive attitudes towards immigrants, stronger negative attitudes towards women’s political and economic rights, stronger negative attitudes towards the nation of residence and less outspoken lower trust in government related institutions. Second generation pupils do not deviate less than first generation, neither pupils in more inclusive societies differ less.
    Keywords: trust; immigrants; 14-year old pupils; cross-national analyses
    JEL: D64
    Date: 2010–03
  13. By: Jo Blanden; Paul Gregg; Lindsey Macmillan
    Abstract: Family income is found to be more closely related to sons' earnings for those born in 1970 compared to those born in 1958. This result is in stark contrast to the finding on the basis of social class; intergenerational mobility for this outcome is found to be unchanged. We set up a formal framework which relates mobility in measured family income/earnings to mobility in social class. Building on this framework we then test a number of hypotheses to explain the difference between the trends. We reject Erikson and Goldthorpe’s (2009) assertion that the divergent results are driven by the poorer measure of permanent family income in the 1958. Instead we find evidence of an increase in the intergenerational persistence of the permanent component of income that is unrelated to social class.
    Keywords: Intergenerational mobility, Earnings, social class
    JEL: J62 I2 D31
    Date: 2010–03
  14. By: Christ, Julian P.
    Abstract: This paper contributes with empirical findings to European co-inventorship location and geographical coincidence of co-patenting networks. Based on EPO co-patenting information for the reference period 2000-2004, we analyze the spatial con figuration of 44 technology-specific co-inventorship networks. European co-inventorship (co-patenting) activity is spatially linked to 1259 European NUTS3 units (EU25+CH+NO) and their NUTS1 regions by inventor location. We extract 7.135.117 EPO co-patenting linkages from our own relational database that makes use of the OECD RegPAT (2009) files. The matching between International Patent Classification (IPC) subclasses and 44 technology fields is based on the ISI-SPRU-OST-concordance. We con firm the hypothesis that the 44 co-inventorship networks differ in their overall size (nodes, linkages, self-loops) and that they are dominated by similar groupings of regions. The paper offers statistical evidence for the presence of highly localized European co-inventorship networks for all 44 technology fields, as the majority of linkages between NUTS3 units (counties and districts) are within the same NUTS1 regions. Accordingly, our findings helps to understand general presence of positive spatial autocorrelation in regional patent data. Our analysis explicitly accounts for different network centrality measures (betweenness, degree, eigenvector). Spearman rank correlation coefficients for all 44 technology fields confirm that most co-patenting networks co-locate in those regions that are central in several technology-specific co-patenting networks. These findings support the hypothesis that leading European regions are indeed multi- filed network nodes and that most research collaboration is taking place in dense co-patenting networks. --
    Keywords: Co-patenting,co-inventorship,networks,linkages,co-location,RegPAT
    JEL: C8 O31 O33 R12
    Date: 2010
  15. By: Ch'ng , Kean Siang; Loke, Yiing Jia
    Abstract: Reciprocal behavior was often explained by perception of fairness derived from either agents’ intention or distributional outcome. In this paper, we demonstrated that fairness perception depended on the evaluability of the partner’s type. We conducted experiments to investigate how workers formed fairness perception on the employers. We found inconsistency in fairness evaluation in the two simulated worker-employer relations; workers derived fairness by comparing own wage with market wage in a one shot interaction, but workers derived fairness based on current and previous wage when interacting with same employer. The reversal of fairness perception suggested the role of evaluability of partners’ attribute in effort decision among workers.
    Keywords: Preference reversal; reciprocity; gift exchange; evaluability hypothesis;experiment.
    JEL: D86 B21 C92
    Date: 2010–01

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