nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒09‒11
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Euricse and University of Trento

  1. Social Networks, Job Search Methods and Reservation Wages: Evidence for Germany By Caliendo, Marco; Schmidl, Ricarda; Uhlendorff, Arne
  2. The productivity of trust By Christian Bjørnskov; Pierre-Guillaum Meon
  3. Different Approaches to Influence Based on Social Networks and Simple Games By Michel Grabisch; Agnieszka Rusinowska
  4. Social Ties and the Job Search of Recent Immigrants By Deepti Goel; Kevin Lang
  5. Ethnic Fragmentation, Conflict, Displaced Persons and Human Trafficking: An Empirical Analysis By Akee, Randall K. Q.; Basu, Arnab K.; Chau, Nancy; Khamis, Melanie
  6. Legal Institutions and Economic Development By Beck, T.H.L.
  7. Press and Pulpit: Competition, Co-operation and the Growth of Religious Magazines in Antebellum America By Goldstein, Adam; Haveman, Heather A.
  8. Coalitions and networks By Fox, Jonathan A
  9. Trust is bound to emerge (In the repeated Trust Game) By Luciano Andreozzi
  10. The Methodologies of Neuroeconomics By Glenn Harrison; Don Ross

  1. By: Caliendo, Marco (IZA); Schmidl, Ricarda (IZA); Uhlendorff, Arne (University of Mannheim)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the relationship between social networks and the job search behavior of unemployed individuals. It is believed that networks convey useful information in the job search process such that individuals with larger networks should experience a higher productivity of informal search. Hence, job search theory suggests that individuals with larger networks use informal search channels more often and substitute from formal to informal search. Due to the increase in search productivity, it is also likely that individuals set higher reservation wages. We analyze these relations using a novel data set of unemployed individuals in Germany containing extensive information on job search behavior and direct measures for the social network of individuals. Our findings confirm theoretical expectations. Individuals with larger networks use informal search channels more often and shift from formal to informal search. We find that informal search is mainly considered a substitute for passive, less cost intensive search channels. In addition to that, we find evidence for a positive relationship between the network size and reservation wages.
    Keywords: job search behavior, unemployment, social networks
    JEL: J64
    Date: 2010–09
  2. By: Christian Bjørnskov; Pierre-Guillaum Meon
    Abstract: This paper returns to one of the early questions of the literature on social trust, whether trust affects total factor productivity (TFP). Using both development and growth accounting, we find strong evidence of a causal effect of trust on the level and growth of TFP. Using a three-stage least-squares procedure, we moreover observe that the effect of trust on TFP runs entirely through property-rights institutions and not political institutions. Those findings resist a series of robustness checks.
    Keywords: Total factor productivity; Social trust
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2010–08
  3. By: Michel Grabisch (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Agnieszka Rusinowska (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I)
    Abstract: We present an overview of research on a certain model of influence in a social network. Each agent has to make an acceptance/rejection decision, and he has an inclination to choose either the yes-action or the no-action. The agents are embedded in a social network which models influence between them. Due to the influence, a decision of an agent may differ from his preliminary inclination. Such a transformation between the agents' inclinations and their decisions are represented by an influence function. Follower functions encode the players who constantly follow the opinion of a given unanimous coalition. We examine properties of the influence and follower functions and study the relation between them. The model of influence is also compared to the framework of command games in which a simple game is built for each agent. We study the relation between command games and influence functions. We also define influence indices and determine the relations between these indices and some well-known power indices. Furthermore, we enlarge the set of possible yes/no actions to multi-choice games and investigate the analogous tools related to influence in the multi-choice model.
    Keywords: influence, social network, influence function, command game
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Deepti Goel; Kevin Lang
    Abstract: We show that increasing the probability of obtaining a job offer through the network should raise the observed mean wage in jobs found through formal (non-network) channels relative to that in jobs found through the network. This prediction also holds at all percentiles of the observed wage distribution, except the highest and lowest. The largest changes are likely to occur below the median. We test and conrm these implications using a survey of recent immigrants to Canada. We also develop a simple structural model, consistent with the theoretical model, and show that it can replicate the broad patterns in the data. For recent immigrants, our results are consistent with the primary effect of strong networks being to increase the arrival rate of offers rather than to alter the distribution from which offers are drawn.
    Keywords: social networks; search; close ties; wage determination; employment; unemployment
    JEL: J30 J61
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Akee, Randall K. Q. (Tufts University); Basu, Arnab K. (College of William and Mary); Chau, Nancy (Cornell University); Khamis, Melanie (IZA)
    Abstract: Ethnic conflicts and their links to international human trafficking have recently received a surge in international attention. It appears that ethnic conflicts exacerbate the internal displacement of individuals from networks of family and community, and their access to economic and social safety nets. These same individuals are then vulnerable to being trafficked by the hopes of better economic prospects elsewhere. In this paper, we empirically examine this link between ethnic fragmentation, conflicts, internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and international trafficking, making use of a novel dataset of international trafficking. We conduct a direct estimation, which highlights the ultimate impact of ethnic fragmentation and conflict on international trafficking through internal and international displacements.
    Keywords: ethnic fragmentation, conflict, displaced persons, human trafficking
    JEL: R23 D74 O11 Z12
    Date: 2010–08
  6. By: Beck, T.H.L. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Legal institutions are critical for the development of market-based economies. This paper defines legal institutions and discusses different indicators to measure their quality and efficiency. It surveys a large historical and empirical literature showing the importance of legal institutions in explaining cross-country variation in economic development. Finally, it presents and discusses three different views of why we can observe the large cross-country variation in legal institutions, the social conflict, the legal origin and the culture and religion hypotheses.
    Keywords: Legal institutions;economic development;legal system indicators;property rights
    JEL: K1 K4 O16 O43 P14
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Goldstein, Adam; Haveman, Heather A.
    Abstract: Sociologists have long been interested in how interactions among the diverse groups that constitute modern societies shape group mobilization efforts, including the use of group media. We advance research on this topic by analyzing the growth of magazines affiliated with religious groups in antebellum America, when the nation was becoming a modern society. We draw on the sociology of religion, organizations, and media to develop hypotheses linking the growth of denominational magazines to inter-denominational competition, intra-denominational fragmentation, denominations’ geographic dispersion, and denominational resource sharing across locations. We test these hypotheses using dynamic techniques on a unique dataset that includes all religious denominations and denominational magazines in the United States between 1790 and 1860. Because our analysis focuses on tools for mobilization – magazines – it avoids the definitional dependency between explanation and outcome that has plagued much research on religious groups. Our results show that denominations published magazines in response to both inter-denominational competition and geographic expansion. However, they used magazines in a manner more consistent with a theory of resource sharing than with ethnic-competition and religious-economies theories. And contrary to expectations, we find that intra-denominational fragmentation did not contribute to the growth of antebellum religious magazines. Our analysis not only links interactions between religious groups to broader group processes, it also offers fruitful ways to extend the analysis of other kinds of groups.
    Date: 2010–04–09
  8. By: Fox, Jonathan A
    Abstract: Coalitions are partnerships among distinct actors that coordinate action in pursuit of shared goals. But what distinguishes them from other kinds of partnerships? The term is widely used to describe joint ventures in a wide range of arenas, most notably in international geopolitics or political party competition and governance. The literature on coalitions is dominated by discussions of war and peace, election campaigns, and parliamentary dynamics. Just as in war or politics, successful collective action in civil society often depends on the formation and survival of coalitions – insofar as the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts.
    Keywords: Globalization and Regulation, Social Movements
    Date: 2009–12–01
  9. By: Luciano Andreozzi
    Abstract: This paper addresses the emergence of cooperation in asymmetric pris- oners' dilemmas in which one player chooses after having observed the other player's choice (Trust Game). We use the finite automata approach with complexity costs to study the equilibria of the repeated version of this game. We show that there is a small set of automata that form the unique Closed Under Rational Behavior (CURB) set for this game. This set contains two non-strict Nash equilibria, a cooperative and a non- cooperative one. We show that the cooperative equilibrium is the only (cyclically) stable set under the so called Best Response Dynamics.
    JEL: C70 C72
    Date: 2010
  10. By: Glenn Harrison; Don Ross
    Abstract: We critically review the methodological practices of two research programs which are jointly called 'neuroeconomics'. We defend the first of these, termed 'neurocellular economics' (NE) by Ross (2008), from an attack on its relevance by Gul and Pesendorfer (2008) (GP). This attack arbitrarily singles out some but not all processing variables as unimportant to economics, is insensitive to the realities of empirical theory testing, and ignores the central importance to economics of 'ecological rationality' (Smith 2007). GP ironically share this last attitude with advocates of 'behavioral economics in the scanner' (BES), the other, and better known, branch of neuroeconomics. We consider grounds for skepticism about the accomplishments of this research program to date, based on its methodological individualism, its ad hoc econometrics, its tolerance for invalid reverse inference, and its inattention to the difficulties involved in extracting temporally lagged data if people's anticipation of reward causes pre-emptive blood flow.
    JEL: A12 B41 C51 C81 C91 D87
    Date: 2010–09

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