nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒11‒20
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Identification of Social Interactions By Blume, Lawrence E.; Brock, William A.; Durlauf, Steven N.; Ioannides, Yannis M.
  2. New Housing Supply and the Dilution of Social Capital By Christian A. L. Hilber
  3. The effect of social trust on achievement test performance of students in Japan By Yamamura, Eiji
  4. Moral Judgments in Social Dilemmas: How Bad is Free Riding? By Robin P. Cubitt; Michalis Drouvelis; Simon Gaechter; Ruslan Kabalin
  5. Corruption and culture: An Experimental Analysis.. By Barr, Abigail; Serra, Danila
  6. Job Contact Networks and the Ethnic Minorities By Battu, Harminder; Seaman, Paul; Zenou, Yves Zenou
  7. Social Networks and Unraveling in Labor Markets By Itay Fainmesser
  8. Neighborhood effects and parental involvement in the intergenerational transmission of education By Eleonora Patacchini; Yves Zenou
  9. Social Interactions and Spillovers By Cabrales, Antonio; Calvó-Armengol, Antoni; Zenou, Yves
  10. Intrinsic motivations and the non-profit health sector: Evidence from Ethiopia.. By Serra, Danila; Serneels, Pieter; Barr, Abigail
  11. The determinants of co-inventor tie formation: proximity and network dynamics By Lorenzo Cassi; Anne Plunket
  12. The Protestant Ethic and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany By Jörg L. Spenkuch

  1. By: Blume, Lawrence E. (Cornell University, and Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, and Santa Fe Institute); Brock, William A. (University of Wisconsin); Durlauf, Steven N. (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison); Ioannides, Yannis M. (Tufts University)
    Abstract: While interest in social determinants of individual behavior has led to a rich theoretical literature and many efforts to measure these influences, a mature “social econometrics” has yet to emerge. This chapter provides a critical overview of the identification of social interactions. We consider linear and discrete choice models as well as social networks structures. We also consider experimental and quasi-experimental methods. In addition to describing the state of the identification literature, we indicate areas where additional research is especially needed and suggest some directions that appear to be especially promising.
    Keywords: Social interactions, social networks, identification
    JEL: C21 C23 C31 C35 C72 Z13
    Date: 2010–10
  2. By: Christian A. L. Hilber
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of local housing supply conditions for social capital investment.Using an instrumental variables approach and data from the Social Capital CommunityBenchmark Survey, it is documented that the positive link between homeownership andindividual social capital investment is largely confined to more built-up neighborhoods (withmore inelastic supply of new housing). The empirical findings provide support for theproposition that in these localities house price capitalization provides additional incentivesfor homeowners to invest in social capital. The findings are also largely consistent with theproposition that built-up neighborhoods provide protection from inflows of newcomers thatcould upset a mutually beneficial equilibrium involving reciprocal cooperation. However, theresults do not appear to be driven by selection based on inherent differences in socialaptitudes or by Tiebout sorting.
    Keywords: House price capitalization, social capital, homeownership, land and housing supply, reciprocal cooperation
    JEL: D71 R21 R31
    Date: 2010–01
  3. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: Empirical results using Japanese data suggest that social trust improves student language and mathematics achievement test scores in primary and junior high school. After controlling for endogeneity bias, social trust had a greater effect on scores for primary school students than on scores for junior high school students.
    Keywords: Social trust; human capital
    JEL: I21 Z13
    Date: 2010–11–10
  4. By: Robin P. Cubitt (University of Nottingham); Michalis Drouvelis (University of Birmingham); Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Ruslan Kabalin (University of Lancaster)
    Abstract: In the last thirty years, economists and other social scientists have investigated people’s normative views on distributive justice. Here we study people’s normative views in social dilemmas, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance. Using insights from moral philosophy and psychology we provide an analysis of the morality of free riding. We use experimental survey methods to investigate people’s moral judgments empirically. We vary others’ contributions, the framing (“give-some” vs. “take-some”) and whether contributions are simultaneous or sequential. We find that moral judgments of a free rider depend strongly on others’ behaviour; and that failing to give is condemned more strongly than withdrawing all support.
    Keywords: moral judgments, moral psychology, framing effects, public goods experiments, free riding
    Date: 2010–10
  5. By: Barr, Abigail; Serra, Danila
    Abstract: Why do some people choose corruption over honesty and others not? Do the social norms and values prevailing in the societies in which they grew up affect their decisions? In 2005, we conducted a bribery experiment and found that, among undergraduates, we could predict who would act corruptly with reference to the level of corruption in their home country. Among graduate students we could not. In 2007, we replicated our result and also found that time spent in the UK was associated with a decline in the propensity to bribe, although this does not explain our inability to predict graduate behaviour. We conclude that, while corruption may, in part, be a cultural phenomenon, individuals should not be prejudged with reference to their country of origin.
    JEL: D73 C91 Z13
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Battu, Harminder (University of Aberdeen); Seaman, Paul (University of Dundee); Zenou, Yves Zenou (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Using data from the UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey, this paper examines the job finding methods of different ethnic groups in the UK. Our empirical findings suggest that, though personal networks are a popular method of finding a job for the ethnic minorities, the foreign born and those who identify themselves as non-British, they are not necessarily the most effective either in terms of gaining employment or in terms of the level of job achieved. However, there are some important differences across ethnic groups with some groups losing out disproportionately from using personal networks.
    Keywords: Job search; networks; social capital; ethnic disadvantage
    JEL: J15 J64
    Date: 2010–11–08
  7. By: Itay Fainmesser
    Abstract: This paper studies the phenomenon of early hiring in entry-level labor markets (e.g. the market for gastroenterology fellowships and the market for judicial clerks) in the presence of social networks. We o¤er a two-stage model in which workers in training institutions reveal information on their own ability over time. In the early stage, workers receive a noisy signal about their own ability. The early information is ?soft?and non-veri?able, and workers can convey the information credibly only to ? rms that are connected to them (potentially via their mentors). At the second stage, ? hard? veri?able (and accurate) information is revealed to the workers and can be credibly transmitted to all ?rms. We characterize the e¤ects of changes to the network structure on the unraveling of the market towards early hiring. Moreover, we show that an e¢ cient design of the matching procedure can prevent unraveling.
    Keywords: Networks; market design; unraveling; entry-level labor markets; early hiring
    Date: 2010
  8. By: Eleonora Patacchini (Università di Roma "La Sapienza"); Yves Zenou (Stockholm University & Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: We analyze the intergenerational transmission of education focusing on the interplay between family and neighborhood effects. We develop a theoretical model suggesting that both neighborhood quality and parental effort are of importance for the education attained by children. This model proposes a mechanism explaining why and how they are of importance, distinguishing between high- and low-educated parents. We then bring this model to the data using a longitudinal data set in Britain. The available information on social housing in big cities allows us to identify the role of neighbourhood in educational outcomes. We find that the better is the quality of the neighborhood, the higher is the parents’ involvement in their children’s education. A novel finding with respect to previous US studies is that family is of importance for children with highly-educated parents while it is the community that is crucial for the educational achievement of children from low-educated families.
    Keywords: Education, cultural transmission, cultural substitution, peer effects, social tenants.
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Cabrales, Antonio (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Calvó-Armengol, Antoni (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona); Zenou, Yves (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide a tractable model where both socialization (or network formation) and productive efforts can be analyzed simultaneously. This permits a full-fledged equilibrium/welfare analysis of network formation with endogenous productive efforts and heterogeneous agents. We show that there exist two stable interior equilibria, which we can Pareto rank. The socially efficient outcome lies between these two equilibria. When the intrinsic returns to production and socialization increase, all equilibrium actions decrease at the Pareto-superior equilibrium, while they increase at the Pareto-inferior equilibrium. In both cases, the percentage change in socialization effort is higher (in absolute value) than that of the productive effort.
    Keywords: Peer effects; network formation; welfare
    JEL: L22 L51 O31 O38
    Date: 2010–11–08
  10. By: Serra, Danila; Serneels, Pieter; Barr, Abigail
    Abstract: Economists have traditionally assumed that individual behavior is motivated exclusively by extrinsic incentives. Social psychologists, in contrast, stress that intrinsic motivations are also important. In recent work, economic theorists have started to build psychological factors, like intrinsic motivations, into their models. Besley and Ghatak (2005) propose that individuals are differently motivated in that they have different “missions,” and their self-selection into sectors or organizations with matching missions enhances organizational efficiency. We test Besley and Ghatak’s model using data from a unique cohort study. We generate two proxies for intrinsic motivations: a survey-based measure of the health professionals philanthropic motivations and an experimental measure of their pro-social motivations. We find that both proxies predict health professionals’ decision to work in the non-profit sector. We also find that philanthropic health workers employed in the non-profit sector earn lower wages than their colleagues.
    JEL: I11 J24 C93
    Date: 2010
  11. By: Lorenzo Cassi; Anne Plunket
    Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of co-inventor tie formation using micro-data on genomic patents from 1990 to 2006 in France. We consider in a single analysis the relational and proximity perspectives that are usually treated separately. In order to do so, we analyse the determinants of network ties that occur within existing components and between two distinct components (i.e. bridging ties). We test the argument that formation of these two different types of ties results from distinct strategies in accessing resources. Doing so, we contrast network and proximity determinants of network formation and we investigate if social network allows economic actors to cross over geographical, technological and organizational boundaries.
    Keywords: Social networks, relational perspective, proximity, co-patenting, network formation
    JEL: D85 O31 R12 Z13
    Date: 2010–11
  12. By: Jörg L. Spenkuch
    Abstract: Few theories in the social sciences have gained more widespread acceptance than Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism—despite a lack of conclusive empirical evidence. At the core of Weber’s theory lies a connection between Protestantism and attitudes toward work. Using micro-data from contemporary Germany, this paper investigates the impact of Protestantism on economic outcomes and whether any such connection still exists. To break the endogeneity in religious affiliation the paper exploits the fact that the geographic distribution of Catholics and Protestants is an artifact of a provision in the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. Reduced form and instrumental variable estimates indicate that, even today, Protestantism leads to higher earnings through increased hours of work, and substantially more self-employment. Institutional factors, or differences in human capital acquisition cannot account for this effect. Instead, the data point to an explanation based on individual values akin to a Protestant Ethic.
    Date: 2010

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