nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒05‒22
eighteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. How do neighbors influence investment in social capital? : Homeownership and length of residence By Yamamura, Eiji
  2. Religious Organizations By Gilat Levy; Ronny Razin
  3. Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility By Benabou, Roland; Tirole, Jean
  4. Do Spouses Cooperate? And If Not: Why? By Cochard, François; Couprie, Hélène; Hopfensitz, Astrid
  5. The Remains of Informality in the Formal Sector: Social Networks and Wages in Senegal's Labor Market By Berardi, Nicoletta
  6. The Impact of the Subgroup Structure on the Evolution of Networks: An Economic Model of Network Evolution By Kibae Kim; Jorn Altmann; Junseok Hwang
  7. Religion and labor force participation of women By H'madoun M.
  8. Two is Company, N is a Crowd? Merchant Guilds and Social Capital By Dessi, Roberta; Piccolo, Salvatore
  9. The limits of self-governance when cooperators get punished: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia By Simon Gaechter; Benedikt Herrmann
  10. (Anti-) Coordination in Networks By Jaromir Kovarik; Friederike Mengel; José Gabriel Romero
  11. The Collective Action Problem: Within-Group Cooperation and Between-Group Competition in a Repeated Rent-Seeking Game By Cheikbossian, Guillaume
  12. Public Security vs. Private Self-Protection: Optimal Taxation and the Social Dynamics of Fear By Angelo Antoci; Pier Luigi Sacco; Mauro Sodini
  13. Altruism and Career Concerns By Shchetinin, Oleg
  14. Measuring and Analyzing the Openness of the Web2.0 Service Network for Improving the Innovation Capacity of the Web2.0 System through Collective Intelligence By Kibae Kim; Jorn Altmann; Junseok Hwang
  15. Contracting under Reciprocal Altruism By Shchetinin, Oleg
  16. Neighborhood Context, Poverty, and Urban Children’s Outdoor Play By Rachel Tolbert Kimbro; Jeanne Brooks-Gunn; Sara McLanahan
  17. Seller Reputation and Trust in Pre-Trade Communication By Jullien, Bruno; Park, In-Uck
  18. The Role of Trust in Emerging Food Supply Network Relations By Fritz, Melanie

  1. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: This paper uses individual data from Japan to explore how the circumstances of where a person resides are related to the degree of their investment in social capital. Controlling for unobserved area-specific fixed effects and various individual characteristics, I found; (1) Not only that homeownership and length of residence are positively related to investment in social capital, but also that rates of homeownership and long-time residency in a locality increase an individual’s investments in social capital. (2) The effects of local neighborhood homeownership and local length of residence are distinctly larger than those of an individual’s homeownership or length of residence.
    Keywords: Social Capital; homeownership; length of residence
    JEL: D71 Z13 R11 R23
    Date: 2010–05–10
  2. By: Gilat Levy (LSE); Ronny Razin (LSE)
    Abstract: We propose a model of religious organizations which relies on the ability of such organi-zations and personal utility shocks. We show how religious organizations arise endogenously and characterize their features. Specifically, we find that members of the religious organization share similar beliefs and are more likely to cooperate with one another in social interactions. We identify a "spiritual" as well as a "material" payoff for members of the religious organization. Our results explain and shed light on empirical phenomena such as the effects of secularization and economic development on religious beliefs and participation, the relation between the size of the religion and the intensity of its members’ beliefs, religious segregation and religious conflicts.
    Keywords: Economics of Religion, Religion, Organizations, Beliefs
    JEL: L30 D71
    Date: 2010–05
  3. By: Benabou, Roland; Tirole, Jean
    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.
    JEL: D64 D78 H41 L31
    Date: 2009–11
  4. By: Cochard, François; Couprie, Hélène; Hopfensitz, Astrid
    Abstract: Models of household economics require an understanding of economic interactions in families. Social ties, repetition and reduced strategic uncertainty make social dilemmas in couples a very special case that needs to be empirically studied. In this paper we present results from a large economic experiment with 100 maritally living couples. Participants made decisions in a social dilemma with their partner and with a stranger. We predict behavior in this task with individual and couples' socio-demographic variables, efficiency preferences and couples' marital satisfaction. As opposed to models explaining behavior amongst strangers, the regressions on couples’ decisions highlight clear patterns concerning cooperation behavior which could inspire future household decision-making models.
    Keywords: noncooperative games, laboratory, individual behavior
    JEL: C72 C91 D13
    Date: 2009–12
  5. By: Berardi, Nicoletta
    Abstract: We develop a theoretical framework that considers the role played by moral hazard and the diversity of networks and cultures in the choice of hiring channel. Our model explains why either informal or formal hiring channels are preferred and either positive or negative wage differentials emerge for workers hired through informal channels, depending on circumstances. We show that, conditional on being employed, in favoritism contexts social networks are likely to be adopted as hiring channels for unskilled jobs and to result in wage penalties and the more so the stronger the ties, while otherwise the opposite happens. We then estimate an endogenous switching model for the case of Senegal's manufacturing formal sector and we find, consistently with our theoretical predictions in case of favoritism, that informal hiring channels are preferred to full unskilled vacancies and are associated with a wage penalty. Moreover, the probability of having been hired through a social network and the absolute value of wage penalties are increasing with the strength of ties.
    Keywords: social networks, hiring channel, wage differential
    JEL: J31 O12
    Date: 2009–12
  6. By: Kibae Kim; Jorn Altmann; Junseok Hwang (Technology Management, Economics and Policy Program(TEMEP), Seoul National University)
    Abstract: One of the most important properties of self-organized networks is their scale-free property. Prior research proved empirically and theoretically that scale-free networks emerge under the preferential attachment rule. However, a few empirical studies also show that empirical networks diverge from the structure of scale-free networks. Empirical networks exhibit a lower exponent of the power law distribution than constructed scale-free networks. Our research aims at establishing a simple evolutionary network model that explains this difference. The results of our model suggest that there are two reasons for this discrepancy. First, as already known, additional links between existing nodes distort the scale-free feature. Second, boundaries between subgroups (groups of network nodes) distort the degree distribution. In general, we believe that our evolutionary model may be applicable not only to describe the structural evolution of networks but also to make network design recommendations in a variety of areas such as WWW-hyperlink networks, business collaboration networks, Peer-To-Peer Networks, and Web2.0 service networks.
    Keywords: Social Network Analysis, Scale-Free Networks, Self-Organization, Evolutionary Model, Network Design, Network Science, Network Modeling.
    JEL: C02 C15 C65 D02 D85 L11 L14 L86 M21
    Date: 2010–03
  7. By: H'madoun M.
    Abstract: This article offers an empirical study of the influence of religiosity on women’s labor force participation across 48 countries. Using the 2005-wave of the World Values Survey, I examine whether and how the labor force participation of women aged 18 to 55 is affected by the core dimensions of individual religiosity, i.e. religious affiliation, intensity of belief and participation in religious services. The analysis supports the hypothesis of a significant difference in the labor force participation of religious and non-religious women. The likelihood of employment decreases with a person’s intensity of belief, but increases with participation in religious activities. Adherents of the Hindu and Muslim faith are the least likely to have paid work. These results are found after controlling for the standard human capital and household characteristics that influence female labor supply. When taking into account country-fixed effects, most religiosity variables loose their significance. This suggests that a country’s institutions, economic structure and socio-political context matter for the way religiosity comes into play in women’s work decisions.
    Date: 2010–05
  8. By: Dessi, Roberta; Piccolo, Salvatore
    Abstract: Local merchant guilds were ubiquitous in medieval Europe, and their development was inextricably linked with the development of towns and the rise of the merchant class. We develop a theory of the emergence of local merchant guilds as an efficient mechanism to implement collusion among merchants and rulers, building on the natural complementarity between merchants’ market trading and mutual monitoring. Our model explains the main observed features of local merchant guilds’ behavior, their rules and internal organization, including membership restrictions and exclusion, and their relationship with rulers. Moreover, it identifies the main channels through which the guilds’ social capital influenced their ability to collude with rulers, and hence social welfare. As we show, the available historical evidence supports our theory, shedding new light on the role of the guilds’ social capital. We then extend the model to analyze the key trade-offs faced by rulers in choosing, whether to grant recognition to one or multiple guilds. This provides an additional rationale for the establishment of the alien merchant guilds first analyzed by Greif, Milgrom and Weingast (1994), helping us to understand the observed distribution of guilds and their characteristics.
    Date: 2009–07
  9. By: Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Benedikt Herrmann (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We report evidence from public goods experiments with and without punishment which we conducted in Russia with 566 urban and rural participants of young and mature age cohorts. Russia is interesting for studying voluntary cooperation because of its long history of collectivism, and a huge urban-rural gap. In contrast to previous experiments we find no cooperation-enhancing effect of punishment. An important reason is that there is punishment of contributors in all four subject pools. Thus, punishment can also undermine the scope for self-governance in the sense of high levels of voluntary cooperation that are sustained by sanctioning free riders only.
    Keywords: social norms, free riding, misdirected punishment, experiments
    Date: 2010–04
  10. By: Jaromir Kovarik (University of the Basque Country); Friederike Mengel (Maastricht University); José Gabriel Romero (University of Santiago de Chile)
    Abstract: We study (anti-) coordination problems in networks in a laboratory experiment. Partici- pants interact with their neighbours in a fixed network to play a bilateral (anti-) coordination game. Our main treatment variable is the extent to which players are heterogeneous in the number of connections (neighbors) they have. Other network characteristics are held constant across treatments. We find the following results. Heterogeneity in the number of connections dramatically improves the rate of successful coordination. In addition, even though there is a multiplicity of Nash equilibria theoretically, a very sharp selection is observed empirically: the most connected player can impose her preferred Nash equilibrium almost always and observed Nash equilibria are such that all links are coordinated. As a second treatment variation we let agents decide endogenously on the amount of information they would like to have and find that local (endogenous) information is equally efficient in ensuring successful coordination as full information. We provide an intuitive explanation of these facts which is supported by our data.
    Keywords: Game Theory, Networks, Coordination Problems, Experiments
    JEL: C72 C90 C91 D85
    Date: 2010–05
  11. By: Cheikbossian, Guillaume
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the ability of group members to cooperate in rent-seeking activities in a context of between-group competition. For this purpose, we develop an infinitely repeated rent-seeking game between two groups of different size. We first investigate Nash reversion strategies to support cooperative behavior in a given group before analyzing double-edge trigger strategies which have the property that cheating on the cooperative agreement in a given group is followed by non-cooperation in this group and cooperation in the rival group. The main conclusion is that the set of parameters for which cooperation can be sustained within the larger group as a subgame perfect outcome is as large as that for which cooperation can be sustained in the smaller group. Hence, in contrast with Olson’s (1965) celebrated thesis but in accordance with many informal and formal observations, the larger group is as effective as the smaller group in furthering its interest.
    Keywords: collective action, rent-seeking, within-group cooperation
    JEL: D72 D74 C72 C73
    Date: 2009–09–24
  12. By: Angelo Antoci (DEIR, University of Sassari); Pier Luigi Sacco (IUAV Ricerche, IUAV University); Mauro Sodini (University of Pisa)
    Abstract: In this paper, we develop a simple model of social dynamics governing the evolution of strategic self-protection choices of boundedly rational potential victims facing the threat of prospective offenders in a large population with random matching. We prove that individual (and socially transmitted) fear of exposure to criminal threats may actually condition choices even in the face of objective evidence of declining crime rates, and thereby cause the eventual selection of Pareto inefficient equilibria with self-protection. We also show that a suitable strategy of provision of public security financed through discriminatory taxation of self-protective expenses may actually overcome this problem, and drive the social dynamics toward the efficient no protection equilibrium. In our model, we do not obtain, as in Cressman et al. (1998), a crowding-out result such that the net impact of public spending on the actual social dynamics is neutral and the economy keeps on cycling between phases of high and low criminal activity with varying levels of self-protection; quite to the contrary, it can be extremely effective in implementing the social optimum, in that it acts primarily on the intangible dimension, that is, on the social dynamics of fear. We claim that this kind of result calls for more interdisciplinary research on the socio-psycho-economic determinants of fear of crime, and for consequent advances in modelling approaches and techniques.
    Keywords: Self-Protection, Fear of Crime, Cultural Selection Dynamics, Replicator Dynamics
    JEL: C73 H23 K49
    Date: 2010–04
  13. By: Shchetinin, Oleg
    Abstract: The paper studies the impact of altruism on Agent’s motivation in the career concerns model. The paper shows the new channel of interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The common point in the literature is that intrinsic motivation can be crowded out by the extrinsic incentives. My paper shows that crowding effect can go in the opposite direction: extrinsic incentives can be lessened for the intrinsically motivated agent. The analysis shows that altruism can decrease effort, though conventional wisdom suggests that effort should always be higher for the more altruistic worker. The key for the result is the distinction between current and anticipated altruism. The paper also studies the effect of altruism on wage. The model has a number of other interesting features. It gives an example of winner’s blessing, it shows that ambitions can hinder altruistic relation. The model can be naturally applied to the workplace relation; another application is the local public good provision.
    Keywords: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, career concerns, altruism
    JEL: D82 M52
    Date: 2009–09
  14. By: Kibae Kim; Jorn Altmann; Junseok Hwang (Technology Management, Economics and Policy Program(TEMEP), Seoul National University)
    Abstract: Web2.0 users can create new services by combining existing Web2.0 services that offer open programming interfaces. This system of service composition forms a network, which we call the Web2.0 service network. A node of the Web2.0 service network represents a service. A link between two nodes exists, if another Web2.0 service (i.e. mashup) uses the linked services. The Web2.0 service network can be understood as an innovation system that creates value through the composition of services, representing the collective intelligence of users. Within this paper, we analyze the openness of the Web2.0 service network. Openness, which is an indicator for the innovation potential ofa network, is measured using the Enhanced-EIS-Indexes. These indexes are based on Krackhardt and Stern¡¯s EI-Index. The analysis results of the indexes show that the Web2.0 service network is not as open as the evolutionary analysis of the Web2.0 service network suggested. The slight closeness of the Web2.0 service network has been identified by the Agent Behavior Index EISa, which highlighted that relatively more links are created within subgroups than between subgroups. It indicates that factors such as service ownership and type of service have an impact on innovation within the network.
    Keywords: Social network analysis, index, network science, subgroup structure, Web2.0 system, service composition, collective intelligence, Web2.0 service network, performance evaluation, innovation, empirical data analysis
    JEL: C43 D02 D23 D85 L14 L16 L22 L86 L96 M21
    Date: 2010–03
  15. By: Shchetinin, Oleg
    Abstract: I develop a model of reciprocal altruism which accounts for some evidence in contracting situations, which are paradoxical from the point of view of neoclassical contract theory with selfish actors. My model predicts the crowding-out effect, observed in the Trust Game with the possibility of a fine; for the Control Game the model predicts that an equilibrium can exhibit ”no effect of control”, ”hidden cost of control”, or ”positive effect of control”, depending on the characteristics of the actors, as observed in the experiments. This suggests that reciprocal altruism modeling could be fruitful more generally in applications of contract theory.
    Keywords: contract theory, signaling, behavioral economics
    JEL: D82 M54
    Date: 2009–08
  16. By: Rachel Tolbert Kimbro (Rice University); Jeanne Brooks-Gunn (Columbia University); Sara McLanahan (Princeton University)
    Abstract: Although research consistently demonstrates a link between neighborhood conditions and physical activity for adults and adolescents, less is known about residential context and young children’s physical activity. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=2,210), we explore whether outdoor play and television watching are associated with children’s body mass indexes (BMIs) at age five; and whether subjective and objective neighborhood measures are associated with children’s outdoor play and television watching. Hours of outdoor play and television viewing are associated with BMI. Higher maternal perceptions of neighborhood collective efficacy are associated with more hours of outdoor play, fewer hours of television viewing, and more trips to a park or playground. In addition, we find that neighborhood physical disorder is associated with more outdoor play and more television watching. Finally, we find that children living in public housing have one-third more outdoor play time than other children.
    Keywords: residential context, physical activity, young children, body mass indexes, Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, television viewing
    JEL: D19 D63 I00 J13
    Date: 2010–04
  17. By: Jullien, Bruno; Park, In-Uck
    Abstract: It is shown that if there is adverse selection on seller's ability in experience goods market, credible communication can be sustained by reputation motives in spite of the inherent conflict of interests between sellers and buyers. In the absence of "commitment" types, reputation motives are explained as a consequence of equilibrium interplay between the market's perception on a seller's ability to deliver quality and the level of trust it places on the information he provides. Moreover, reputation motives do not disappear even after the seller's ability is revealed. This model is applied to examine the extent to which consumer rating systems may discipline sellers in honestly informing buyers about the quality of their product. Also analyzed is the impact of the possibility that sellers may restart as new traders by obtaining new identities.
    JEL: C73 D82 D83 L14
    Date: 2009–07
  18. By: Fritz, Melanie
    Abstract: The food sector is the largest economic sector in the European Union (CIAA, 2005). It consists of a complex, global and dynamically changing network of trade streams, food supply network relations and related product flows (Fritz, Schiefer, 2008a). Food supply networks are subject to dynamically changing circumstances, which include fluctuations at primary production due to changes in weather or climate, impacting supply and demand and prices, and also impacting the quality of raw material, variations in food consumption due to seasonality or the westernization of diets in Asia (see e.g. OECD-FAO, 2006, Pingali, 2006), the development of alternative uses of raw material such as bio-fuel, and, not the least, from changing attitudes of society towards the consequences of the food systemâs activities for environmental, social and economic issues, captured in the term of âsustainabilityâ (Aiking, de Boer, 2004).
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Farm Management, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, Risk and Uncertainty,
    Date: 2009–10

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