nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒04‒11
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Reciprocal Attention and Norm of Reciprocity in Blogging Networks By Alexia Gaudeul; Chiara Peroni
  2. Women and Work: What Role Do Social Norms Play? By Andreia Tolciu; Ulrich Zierahn
  3. Civic Capital as the Missing Link By Luigi Guiso; Paola Sapienza; Luigi Zingales
  4. Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being By Stutzer, Alois; Frey, Bruno S.
  5. Organized Crime, Migration and Human Capital Formation: Evidence from the South of Italy By Nicola D. Coniglio; Giuseppe Celi; Cosimo Scagliusi
  6. The effects of the social norm on cigarette consumption: evidence from Japan using panel data By Yamamura, Eiji
  7. Groups, Networks, and Hierarchy in Household Private Transfers: Evidence from Fiji By Yoshito Takasaki
  8. Inexpressive Law By Emanuela Carbonara; Francesco Parisi; Georg von Wangenheim
  9. The relationship between social leisure and life satisfaction By Becchetti Leonardo; Giachin Elena; Pelloni Alessandra
  10. Effects of Female Labor Participation and Marital Status on Smoking Behavior in Japan By Yamamura, Eiji
  11. Social fragmentation and public goods : polarization, inequality and patronage in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. By Catherine Bros
  12. The Outcomes of Individual-level Technology Transfer and the Role of Research Collaboration Networks By Tuomo Nikulainen

  1. By: Alexia Gaudeul (Graduate School "Human Behavior in Social and Economic Change", Friedrich Schiller University, Jena); Chiara Peroni (Statec & Centre de Recherche Publique Henri Tudor)
    Abstract: Bloggers devote significant time not only producing content for others to read, watch or listen to, but also paying attention to and engaging in interactions with other bloggers. We hope to throw light not only on the factors that gain bloggers significant readership and lively interactions with their audience, but also on the rules that govern their relations with others. We relate bloggers' activity with the size and structure of their network of fellow bloggers. A blogger's readership increases with his activity, while bloggers who read back proportionally fewer of their readers tend also to be more active. We find evidence that those bloggers who read back proportionally fewer of their readers have less readers than bloggers who reciprocate more, but tend to receive more comments per posts.
    Keywords: Blogs, Bloggers, Community, Friendship, Internet, LiveJournal, Reciprocity, Social Media, Social Networks, Social Norms, Web 2.0, Weblogs
    JEL: D64 D85 H41 L82 L86 Z13
    Date: 2010–03–22
  2. By: Andreia Tolciu (Hamburg Institute of International Economics); Ulrich Zierahn (Economics Department, University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Against the background of the current economic research which concentrates particularly on individual and structural factors, this paper examines if and to what extent social norms (in terms of attitudes towards gender roles and work commitment) can make a complementary statement in explaining women's employment status. The impact is presumed to be enhanced through norms shared by people belonging to the same households, peer groups, and by residents of the same region. The analysis relies on a rich German dataset and employs a zero infl ated negative binomial model. The results highlight the importance of `relevant others' in explaining women's employment status.
    Keywords: women's employment status, households and families, social norms, zero in ated negative binominal model
    JEL: A13 C35 J16 J21
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Luigi Guiso; Paola Sapienza; Luigi Zingales
    Abstract: This chapter reviews the recent debate about the role of social capital in economics. We argue that all the difficulties this concept has encountered in economics are due to a vague and excessively broad definition. For this reason, we restrict social capital to the set of values and beliefs that help cooperation—which for clarity we label civic capital. We argue that this definition differentiates social capital from human capital and satisfies the properties of the standard notion of capital. We then argue that civic capital can explain why differences in economic performance persist over centuries and discuss how the effect of civic capital can be distinguished empirically from other variables that affect economic performance and its persistence, including institutions and geography.
    JEL: O43
    Date: 2010–03
  4. By: Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel); Frey, Bruno S. (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Over the last decades, empirical research on subjective well-being in the social sciences has provided a major new stimulus to the discourse on individual happiness. Recently this research has also been linked to economics where reported subjective wellbeing is often taken as a proxy measure for individual welfare. In our review, we intend to provide an evaluation of where the economic research on happiness stands and of three directions it might develop. First, it offers new ways for testing the basic assumptions of the economic approach and for going about a new understanding of utility. Second, it provides a new possibility for the complementary testing of theories across fields in economics. Third, we inquire how the insights gained from the study of individual happiness in economics affect public policy.
    Keywords: economics, happiness, life satisfaction, survey data, income, public goods, unemployment
    JEL: A10 D60 H41 I31
    Date: 2010–03
  5. By: Nicola D. Coniglio (University of Bari); Giuseppe Celi (University of Foggia); Cosimo Scagliusi (University of Bari)
    Abstract: The presence of organized crime is a pervasive feature of many developed and developing countries. Even if ‘mafia’ organizations have greatly enlarged the geographical scope of their activities, as in the past they are still deeply rooted in specific territories where their presence generates a host of influences on socio-economic performances (perverse social capital). In this paper we analyse the consequences of the presence of organized crime on the long-term accumulation of human capital, a key determinant of economic growth. To do this we build a unique dataset where - among other information - we identify municipalities where the presence of organized crime is particularly pervasive in an Italian region, Calabria, where is based one of the most powerful international criminal organization, 'Ndrangheta. Our results suggest that the presence of organized crime inhibits the accumulation of human capital both directly (reducing the incentive to invest in formal education) and indirectly by increasing migration outflows.
    Keywords: Organized crime, human capital, social capital, migration
    JEL: J61 J24 O15 O18
    Date: 2010–03
  6. 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 drinking 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: I12 Z10 I10
    Date: 2010–04–02
  7. By: Yoshito Takasaki
    Abstract: Although economists have extensively studied private transfers exchanged among households within a network, those exchanged directly with groups to which the household belongs – such as ritual gifts, communal work, and church donations --- have received very limited attention. Using original household survey data gathered in rural Fiji, this paper shows that extant studies on across-household private transfers are incomplete for two reasons. First, group-based transfers are much greater than networkbased transfers because of significant contributions to groups for their provision of local public goods. Second, group-based transfers significantly influence network-based transfers through the social hierarchy: A comparison of various groups (e.g., kin and church groups) and social ranks (e.g., gender, disability, elite kin, and religious elite) indicates that network-based transfers adjust to hierarchy bias in group-based transfers among fixed members depending on the physical and social connections of groups and networks.
    Date: 2010–03
  8. By: Emanuela Carbonara (University of Bologna, Department of Economics); Francesco Parisi (University of Minnesota Law School and University of Bologna, Department of Economics); Georg von Wangenheim (University of Kassel, Faculty of Law)
    Abstract: According to expressive law theories, expression of values is an important function played by the law. Expressive laws affect behavior, not by threatening sanctions or promising rewards, but by changing individual preferences and tastes and, in some cases, by affecting social norms and values. New laws, however, can run against sticky social norms, failing to achieve their expressive effects. By developing a dynamic model, in this paper we show that inexpressive laws (laws whose expressive function is undermined by sticky norms) can not only be ineffective but can push the values of society away from those expressed by the law. We study the effects of legal intervention on the values shared by members of society, considering the feedback effects between laws and social norms. Just like expressive laws can foster consensus in heterogeneous groups, inexpressive laws can create a social divide, even in previously homogeneous societies.
    Keywords: Social Norms, Countervailing Effect, Expressive Law, Civil Disobedience
    JEL: K10 K42 D70 B52 Z13
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Becchetti Leonardo; Giachin Elena; Pelloni Alessandra
    Abstract: Social leisure is generally found to be positively correlated with life satisfaction in the empirical literature. We ask if this association captures a genuine causal effect of this good on subjective wellbeing by using panel data from the GSOEP. Fixed effect estimation techniques take care of some but not all of the endogeneity issues involved: we then have recourse to instrumental variables estimation. Our identification strategy exploits the change in social leisure brought about by retirement: more specifically we instrument social leisure with the ratio of retired in the sample by year and geographic location (East vs West Germany). Our results show a gendered difference in the impact of this ratio on social life. Our final message is that social leisure has a positive causal effect on life satisfaction, a finding with potentially important policy implications.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, social leisure, retirement
    JEL: I30 D61 A11 A13
    Date: 2010–03
  10. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: Using individual level data (the Japanese General Social Survey), this paper aims to explore how interaction between genders contributes to the cessation of smoking in Japan, where females are distinctly less inclined to smoke than males. Controlling for various socioeconomic factors and selection bias, I find through a Heckman-type selection estimation that proportions of female employees in workplaces are negatively associated with male smoking but not with female smoking. Furthermore, married males are less likely to smoke than single males, whereas there is no difference in smoking rates between married and single females. These results suggest that smokers are more inclined to cease smoking when they are more likely to have contact with opposite sex nonsmokers. Overall, this empirical study provides evidence that the psychological effect of the presence of people in one’s surroundings has a direct significant effect upon smoking behavior; however, this effect is observed only among males and not females.
    Keywords: social pressure; female labor participation; marital status; smoking behavior
    JEL: D12 I12 Z13
    Date: 2010–03–31
  11. By: Catherine Bros (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne and CSH - Delhi)
    Abstract: A vast recent literature has stressed social fragmentation's negative impact on the provision of public goods. It has been established theoretically that social fragmentation engenders discord and thereby undermines public goods provision. Empirical research has produced mixed results about this relationship. On the one hand it rarely holds for all the goods and on another hand it appears attenuated at the micro-level. Three points ought to be considered. First, the negative role attributed to social fragmentation rests upon the actuality of a relationship between social antagonisms and ethnic diversity. Yet, such an actuality is to be proved. Second, should such a relationship exist, polarization indices would be more appropriate than the traditional fractionalization index used so far in the literature. Third, theoretical works have set aside the possibility of ethnic patronage in accessing public goods. Nevertheless, it is a central issue as patronage is common in developing countries. In this event, a positive relationship could be found between social fragmentation and the presence of public goods. This article aims at showing that such a positive relationship does exist, at least in parts of India, as a consequence of caste patronage. It also shown that polarization is irrelevant as social antagonisms do not seem to be an obstacle to the provision of public goods.
    Keywords: Political economy, patronage, public goods, collective action, inequality, Olson, Caste, India.
    JEL: H4 O1 O2
    Date: 2010–03
  12. By: Tuomo Nikulainen
    Abstract: This paper discusses the outcomes of university-industry interaction from the perspective of an individual academic researcher. Two contributions are made to the extant literature. First, in the existing research, the focus has mostly been on outcomes such as university-based patenting, licensing revenues, invention disclosures to technology transfer offices, and academic entrepreneurship. This narrow focus has excluded intangible outcomes, such as the identification of new research ideas and commercial opportunities, from the discussion. Therefore, in this paper, both intangible and tangible outcomes are taken into account, and the empirical analysis identifies unique individual-level factors related to the different types of outcomes. Second, in the extant literature, it is argued that a boundary-spanning position within different types of networks is related to higher performance and the identification of unique ideas. This aspect is analysed by identifying the role of a boundary-spanning position in research collaboration networks with respect to the different outcomes. The empirical results show that the different outcomes are clearly related to different individual-level factors, and that a boundary-spanning position in research collaboration networks is related to both intangible and tangible outcomes.
    Keywords: technology transfer, university-industry interaction, individual researchers, research collaboration, research networks, boundary spanning, nanotechnology
    JEL: O31 O33
    Date: 2010–03–25

This nep-soc issue is ©2010 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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