nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒12‒04
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Corruption and Social Interaction: Evidence from China By Bin Dong; Benno Torgler
  2. I Would if I Could: Precarious Employment and Childbearing Intentions in Italy By Francesca Modena; Fabio Sabatini
  3. Do Parents' Social Skills Influence Their Children's Sociability? By Okumura, Tsunao; Usui, Emiko
  4. Is God in the Details? A Reexamination of the Role of Religion in Economic Growth By Steven N. Durlauf; Andros Kourtellos; Chih Ming Tan
  5. Prevalence and Determinants of Social Entrepreneurship at the Macro-level By Chantal Hartog; Brigitte Hoogendoorn
  6. Sharing Competences: The Impact of Local Institutional Settings on Voter Turnout By Claus Michelsen; P. Bönisch; Martin T.W. Rosenfeld
  7. Political Participation of Ethnic Associations: Exploring the Importance of Organisational Level Differences in Resources, Motivation and Recruitment Networks By Strömblad, Per; Bengtsson, Bo
  8. Revisiting Michael McBride’s experiment about “Money, happiness, and aspirations” By Abigail Barr
  9. An Economic Approach to Voluntary Association By Ekaterina Melnik; Jean-Benoît Zimmermann

  1. By: Bin Dong; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: We explore theoretically and empirically whether social interaction, including local and global interaction, influences the incidence of corruption. We first present an interaction-based model on corruption that predicts that the level of corruption is positively associated with social interaction. Then we empirically verify the theoretical prediction using within-country evidence at the province-level in China during 1998 to 2007. Panel data evidence clearly indicates that social interaction has a statistically significantly positive effect on the corruption rate in China. Our findings, therefore, underscore the relevance of social interaction in understanding corruption.
    Keywords: Awards; Signals; Status; Anonymity; Globalization
    JEL: K42 D72 D64 O17 J24
    Date: 2010–11
  2. By: Francesca Modena; Fabio Sabatini
    Abstract: This paper carries out an investigation into the socio-economic determinants of childbearing decisions made by couples in Italy. The analysis accounts for the characteristics of both possible parents. Our results do not support established theoretical predictions according to which the increase in the opportunity cost of motherhood connected to higher female labour participation is responsible for the fall in fertility. On the contrary, the instability of women’s work status (i.e. having occasional, precarious, and low-paid positions) is revealed as a significant dissuasive factor in the decision to have children. Couples in which there is an unemployed woman are less likely to plan childbearing as well. Other relevant explanatory variables are women’s age, men’s work status and education, women’s citizenship, marital status and perceived economic wellbeing.
    Keywords: Fertility, family planning, parenthood, childbearing, participation, job instability, precarious employment, Italy.
    JEL: C25 J13
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Okumura, Tsunao (Yokohama National University); Usui, Emiko (Nagoya University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of parents' social skills on children's sociability, using the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79). This survey, like some other national surveys, lacks detailed information on parents; to remedy this deficiency, we construct a measure of parents' "sociability" skills based on their occupational characteristics from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). The sociability relationship varies across parents and children by gender, but remains statistically significant (especially between fathers and sons), even after controlling for a variety of other background characteristics.
    Keywords: sociability, intergenerational correlations, occupational characteristics
    JEL: J24 J62
    Date: 2010–11
  4. By: Steven N. Durlauf; Andros Kourtellos; Chih Ming Tan
    Abstract: Barro and McCleary (2003) is a key research contribution in the new literature exploring the macroeconomic effects of religious beliefs. This paper represents an effort to evaluate the strength of their claims. We evaluate their results in terms of replicability and robustness. Overall, their analysis generally meets the standard of statistical replicability, though not perfectly. On the other hand, we do not find that their results are robust to changes in their baseline statistical specification. When model averaging methods are employed to integrate information across alternative statistical specifications, little evidence survives that religious variables help to predict cross-country income differences.
    Keywords: Economic Growth, Religion, Model Uncertainty
    Date: 2010–11
  5. By: Chantal Hartog; Brigitte Hoogendoorn
    Abstract: This study increases our understanding of the prevalence of social entrepreneurial activity at the country level and our comprehension of factors explaining the variation in the rate of social entrepreneurship. We introduce two measures of social entrepreneurship – “social business entrepreneurs” and “social initiators” – and link these measures to three fields of explanations: aggregate level conditions of entrepreneurship in general, aggregate individual characteristics and opportunities for social entrepreneurs. This study reveals that: (1) social entrepreneurship is indeed a phenomenon different from commercial entrepreneurship, (2) that the degree of postmaterialism in a society is a factor with significant explanatory value for the prevalence of social entrepreneurship, and (3) that opportunities for social entrepreneurs are in particular created when social initiators are part of the safety net of the welfare regime.
    Date: 2010–11–25
  6. By: Claus Michelsen; P. Bönisch; Martin T.W. Rosenfeld
    Abstract: Institutions are common predictors of voter turnout. Most research in this field focuses on cross-country comparisons of voting systems, like the impact of compulsory voting or registration systems. Fewer efforts have been devoted to understand the role of local institutions and their impact on political participation. Especially the impact of divided competences in relation to public good provision and its impact on voter turnout has been widely ignored. In the present paper, we analyze the effects of different institutional settings for inter-municipal cooperation on voter turnout. We use data from local elections in Germany, held in 2003 and 2004. Overall, we analyze aggregate voter turnout of 1661 municipalities and find strong evidence for our hypothesis that local institutional settings are influential in this context. Further, our results indicate that the better competences correspond to the spatial dimension of local public goods, the higher should be the voter turnout.
    Keywords: voter turnout, local institutions, inter-municipal cooperation
    JEL: D70 D72 H11 H40
    Date: 2010–10
  7. By: Strömblad, Per (Institute for Futures Studies); Bengtsson, Bo (Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University)
    Abstract: <p> In this paper, we apply the Civic Voluntarism Model (CVM) proposed by Verba, Schlozman and Brady on the organisational level. Simultaneously contributing to the research on the political integration of ethnic minorities, we examine resources, motivation and recruitment networks of ethnic associations, and probe the extent to which these mechanisms influence collectively organised political participation. We use data based on face to face interviews with representatives of 106 organisations of four different immigrant groups in Stockholm. Our results indicate that participation rates of ethnic associations vary with size, access to information technology, level of internal democracy, overall aspiration to influence society, and contacts with political elites. Noteworthy, however, our analyses suggest that members’ proficiency in the Swedish language is not important in this respect. Conceptually and methodologically the study demonstrates how the CVM can be fruitfully applied when analysing differences in the political activity of voluntary associations.<p>
    Keywords: Ethnic minorities; Political integration; Ethnic associations; Political participation; Civic Voluntarism Model; Voluntary associations
    JEL: J15 J24 J61 J71
    Date: 2010–11–22
  8. By: Abigail Barr (Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: In a laboratory experiment designed to test aspiration-based theories of happiness, McBride (2010) found no evidence of the predicted negative effect of own past payments on subjects’ satisfaction with their current round payments. This paper presents further analysis of McBride’s data that reveals such an effect. In the treatment where such an effect is most likely to be observed, subjects’ satisfaction with their payments in a given round is negatively affected by the level of payment they received the last time they faced the same payment probabilities. The overall trajectory of their payments when facing the same payment probabilities is also found to have an effect.
    Keywords: Satisfaction, Happiness, Adaptation, Experiment
    JEL: C91 I31
    Date: 2010–11
  9. By: Ekaterina Melnik (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579); Jean-Benoît Zimmermann (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: We develop an economic model of association based on voluntary contributions. Different equilibria corresponding to the different modes of formation of associations are analyzed and the results are compared with the existing empirical literature. The main contribution consists in analyzing voluntary associations as a means of providing collective consumption goods or services while allowing for some heterogeneity of preferences concerning the quality of these goods or services. Thus we introduce the concept of subjective quality as a possible incentive for volunteering. The model stresses the importance of non-pecuniary rewards and of accepted differentiation for the well-functioning of voluntary organizations.
    Keywords: Voluntary Association; Public Good; Volunteering
    Date: 2010–11–19

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