nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒12‒11
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Why Consumers Pay Voluntarily: Evidence from Online Music By Tobias Regner
  2. Low expectations or different evaluations – What explains immigrants’ high levels of trust in host country institutions? By Antje Roeder; Peter Muehlau
  3. Migration and Culture By Gil S. Epstein; Ira N. Gang
  4. Neighborhood and Friendship Composition in Adolescence By Edling, Christofer; Rydgren, Jens
  5. Interactions between Local and Migrant Workers at the Workplace By Gil S. Epstein; Yosef Mealem
  6. Handedness predicts Social Preferences: Evidence connecting the Lab to the Field By Thomas Buser
  7. Neuroscience Can Help Us Understand Social Transitions By John M. Gowdy
  8. Self-Esteem, Shame and Personal Motivation By Dessi, Roberta; Zhao, Xiaojian
  9. The Role of Directors’ Professional and Social Networks in CEO Compensation and the Managerial Labour Market. By Zhao, Y.
  10. Social entrepreneurship: Taking stock and looking ahead By Mair, Johanna
  11. It pays to pay - Big Five personality influences on co-operative behaviour in an incentivized and hypothetical prisoner's dilemma game By Jan-Erik Lönnqvist; Markku Verkasalo; Gari Walkowitz
  12. Whither Corruption? A Quantitative Survey of the Literature on Corruption and Growth By Campos, Nauro F.; Dimova, Ralitza; Saleh, Ahmad
  13. Economic Development and the Family Structure: from the Pater Familias to the Nuclear Family By Luca PENSIEROSO; Alessandro SOMMACAL

  1. By: Tobias Regner (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)
    Abstract: Customers at the online music label Magnatune can pay what they want for albums, as long as the payment is within a given price range ($5-$18). Magnatune recommends to pay $8, and on average customers paid $8.20 (Regner and Barria, 2009). We ran an online survey and collected responses from 227 frequent Magnatune customers to gain insights about the underlying motivations to pay more than necessary. We control for individual response- and sample selection-bias, and find that reciprocity and guilt appear to be the major drivers for generous voluntary payments. Being inclined to follow social norms is a positive determinant for payments around the recommended price.
    Keywords: social preferences, other-regarding behaviour, music industry, reciprocity, guilt, social norms, altruism, fairness, social-image concerns, survey
    JEL: D82 M21 L82 L86
    Date: 2010–11–30
  2. By: Antje Roeder (Department of Sociology Trinity College Dublin); Peter Muehlau (Department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin)
    Abstract: Several recent studies show that immigrants exhibit higher levels of trust in public institutions than natives. This study uses pooled data from the European Social Survey to examine possible reasons for this ‘over-confidence’ of immigrants, arguing that it is largely the relatively lower expectations of immigrants from countries with poorer institutional performance that account for this difference. The eminent role of expectations is also underscored by the finding that low social standing matters less for the level of trust of immigrants than it does for natives. The ‘frame of reference effect’ weakens over time and with increased acculturation in the country of residence, suggesting that expectations are less strongly based on experiences in the country of origin the better integrated an immigrant is in the country of residence. A small part of immigrants’ higher trust levels and of the dual frames of reference effect are mediated by the more conservative value orientations of immigrants from countries with lower political stability, who appear to regard stability and conformity more highly. However, the overall pattern of effects indicates that lower rather than different expectations explain immigrants’ higher levels of institutional trust.
    Keywords: Migration; Confidence; Trust; Institutions; Expectations
    JEL: N A
    Date: 2010–11
  3. By: Gil S. Epstein (Bar Ilan University, IZA, CReAM and Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano); Ira N. Gang (Rutgers University, IZA and CReAM)
    Abstract: Culture is not new to the study of migration. It has lurked beneath the surface for some time, occasionally protruding openly into the discussion, usually under some pseudonym. The authors bring culture into the open. They are concerned with how culture manifests itself in the migration process for three groups of actors: the migrants, those remaining in the sending areas, and people already living in the recipient locations. The topics vary widely. What unites the authors is an understanding that though actors behave differently, within a group there are economically important shared beliefs (customs, values, attitudes, etc.), which we commonly refer to as culture. Culture and identify play a central role in our understanding of migration as an economic phenomenon; but what about them matters? Properly, we should be looking at the determinants of identity and the determinants of culture (prices and incomes, broadly defined). But this is not what is done. Usually identity and culture appear in economics articles as a black box. Here we try to begin to break open the black box.
    Date: 2010–11–30
  4. By: Edling, Christofer (Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS); Rydgren, Jens (Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS)
    Abstract: The social surroundings in which the individual grows up and spends her everyday life have an effect on her life chances. Much of the research into this phenomenon focuses on so called neighborhood effects and has put particular emphasis on the negative effects of growing up in a poor neighborhood. Originating from the sociological study of inner city problems in the United States, the research question has recently been embraced by Scandinavian social scientists, who assess the phenomenon with reference to social network effects and the lock-in effects of ethnic enclaves. We critique the theoretical assumptions that we find in recent Scandinavian research, and argue that a straightforward interpretation of neighborhood effects in terms of network effects is problematic. Our argument is based on an empirical analysis of friendship circles of ninth-graders in Stockholm (n=240). We conclude that the friendship networks of ninth-graders extend well beyond the neighborhood, thus casting serious doubt on the network effects assumption of previous research. We also conclude that there is nothing in the reality of these ninth-graders that confirms the established concept of ethnic enclave.
    Keywords: social interaction; friendship; adolescence; ethnicity; neighborhood
    JEL: R23
    Date: 2010–11–29
  5. By: Gil S. Epstein (Bar Ilan University, IZA and CReAM); Yosef Mealem (Netanya Academic College, Israel)
    Abstract: In this paper we consider the interaction between local workers and migrants in the production process of a firm. Both local workers and migrants can invest effort in assimilation activities in or-der to increase the assimilation of the migrants into the firm and so by increase their interaction and production activities. We consider the effect, the relative size (in the firm) of each group and the cost of activities, has on the assimilation process of the migrants.
    Keywords: Assimilation; Contracts; Ethnicity; Market Structure; Networks; harassment
    JEL: D74 F23 I20 J61 L14
    Date: 2010–07–31
  6. By: Thomas Buser (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: It is now generally accepted that some people are more altruistic, more trusting, or more reciprocal than others, but it is still unclear whether these differences are innate or a consequence of nurture. We analyse the correlation between handedness and social preferences in the lab and find that left-handed men are significantly more generous when recipients have the possibility to reciprocate and exhibit stronger positive reciprocity themselves. Left-handed women are significantly less altruistic. We test the external validity of these findings by connecting them to large-scale survey data from the Netherlands and the US covering altruistic behaviour and reciprocity outside the lab. The results largely carry over. We argue that our findings demonstrate that social preferences are at least partially determined by nature and help to shed light on their neural origins.
    Keywords: social preferences; handedness; external validity of lab experiments
    JEL: D87 C91
    Date: 2010–11–30
  7. By: John M. Gowdy (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180-3590, USA)
    Abstract: Human cultural adaptability helped our species get through several extreme environmental crises during the 200,000 year history of Homo sapiens. Richerson, Boyd and Henrich (2010) argue that this adaptability is a product of gene-culture coevolution. Much has been written about cultural evolution, but relatively little attention has been paid to the role human neurobiology plays in this process. I argue here that neuroscience can make important contributions to understanding human behavior within highly evolved social systems. This can help inform us as to how a transition to sustainability might be possible as we struggle to make it through the population, climate change, and resource bottlenecks of the 21st century. I argue further than the idea of homeostasis can serve as an organizing principle to understand individual, social and ecological sustainability.Creation-Date: 2010-11
    JEL: A10 A11 P48
  8. By: Dessi, Roberta (Toulouse School of Economics (GREMAQ and IDEI) and CEPR); Zhao, Xiaojian (Hong Kong University)
    Abstract: The available evidence from numerous studies in psychology suggests that overconfidence is a much more important phenomenon in North America than in Japan. Relatedly, North Americans appear to view high self-esteem much more positively than Japanese. The pattern is reversed when it comes to shame, a social emotion which appears to play a much more important role among Japanese than North Americans. We develop an economic model that endogenizes these observed differences, and relates them to differences in economic opportunities. A crucial tradeoff arises in the model between the benefits of encouraging self-improvement and the benefits of promoting initiative and new investments. In this context, self-esteem maintenance (self-enhancement) and high sensitivity to shame emerge as substitute mechanisms to induce efficient effort and investment decisions, generating a "North American" equilibrium with overconfidence and low sensitivity to shame, and a "Japanese" equilibrium with high sensitivity to shame and no overconfidence. The analysis identifies the key equilibrium costs as well as the benefits of reliance on each mechanism, and the implications for welfare.
    JEL: D82 D83 Z13
    Date: 2010–09–15
  9. By: Zhao, Y. (Tilburg University)
    Date: 2010
  10. By: Mair, Johanna (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: This essay sets out to take stock of existing endeavors to conceptualize Social Entrepreneurship. We illustrate the context-specific nature of the phenomenon and derive implications for fostering social entrepreneurship as a positive force for social and economic development. The paper has two main objectives: first, to stimulate a productive agenda for future research that goes beyond questions of 'who' and 'what' by pursuing the important considerations of 'where', 'why' and 'how'; and second, in so doing, to generate real insights for advances in both theory and practice.
    Keywords: social entrepreneurship; institutions; capitalism;
    Date: 2010–11–03
  11. By: Jan-Erik Lönnqvist (Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland); Markku Verkasalo (Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland); Gari Walkowitz (Department of Management, University of Cologne, Germany)
    Abstract: The authors investigated how the presence or absence of monetary incentives in a prisoner's dilemma game may influence research outcomes. Specifically, the predictive power of the Big Five personality traits on decisions in an incentivized (N = 60) or hypothetical (N = 60) prisoner's dilemma game was investigated. Participants were less generous in the incentivized game. More importantly, personality predicted decisions only in the incentivized game, with low Neuroticism and high Openness to Experience predicting more cooperative transfers. The influence of Neuroticism on behaviour in the incentivized game was mediated by risk attitude. The results are consistent with other results suggesting that the Big Five are relevant predictors of moral behaviour, and with results suggesting that the determinants of hypothetical decisions are different from the determinants of real decisions, with the latter being more revealing of one's true preferences. The authors argue that psychologists, contrary to prevailing praxis, should consider making their participants' decisions more real. This could allow psychologists to more convincingly generalize laboratory findings into contexts outside of the laboratory.
    Keywords: Big Five, Prisoner's dilemma, Social dilemma, Moral behaviour, Incentives, Stake size
    Date: 2010–11
  12. By: Campos, Nauro F. (Brunel University); Dimova, Ralitza (University of Manchester); Saleh, Ahmad (Brunel University)
    Abstract: Does corruption grease or sand the wheels of economic growth? This paper uses meta-analysis techniques to systematically evaluate the evidence addressing this question. It uses a data set comprising 460 estimates of the effect of corruption on growth from 41 empirical studies. The main factors explaining the variation in these estimates are whether the model accounts for institutions and trade openness (both are found to deflate the negative effect of corruption), authors' affiliation (academics systematically report less negative impacts), and use of fixed-effects. We also find that publication bias, albeit somewhat acute, does not eliminate the genuine negative effect of corruption on economic growth.
    Keywords: corruption, economic growth, meta-regression analysis
    JEL: O1
    Date: 2010–11
  13. By: Luca PENSIEROSO (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and FNRS); Alessandro SOMMACAL (Department of Economics, University of Verona; Econpubblica, Bocconi University)
    Abstract: We provide a theory that is able to account for the observed comovement between the shift in intergenerational living arrangements from coresidence to non-coresidence and economic development. Our theory is consistent with the diminution in the status of the elderly documented by some sociologists. The results from our analysis show that, when technical progress is fast enough, the economy experiences a shift from stagnation to growth, there is a transition from coresidence to non-coresidence, and the social status of the elderly tends to deteriorate.
    Keywords: Unified Growth Theory, Intergenerational Living Arrangements, Bargaining Power, Family Economics
    JEL: O40 O11 O33 J10
    Date: 2010–11–05

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