nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒12‒23
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Trust, Positive Reciprocity, and Negative Reciprocity: Do These Traits Impact Entrepreneurial Dynamics? By Marco Caliendo; Frank Fossen; Alexander Kritikos
  2. Context and Interpretation in Laboratory Experiments: The Case of Reciprocity By Maria Vittoria Levati; Topi Miettinen; Birendra K. Rai
  3. Does Fiscal Decentralisation Strengthen Social Capital?: Cross-Country Evidence and the Experiences of Brazil and Indonesia By Luiz de Mello
  4. Doing good with other people's money: A charitable giving experiment with students in environmental sciences and economics By Frederik Carlsson; Mitesh Kataria; Elina Lampi; M. Vittoria Levati
  5. Directed Generosity and Network Formation: Network Dimension Matters By D'Exelle, Ben; Riedl, Arno
  6. Quality of social networks and educational investment decisions By Blanca ZULUAGA
  7. On and Off the Beaten Path: Transferring Knowledge through Formal and Informal Networks By Aalbers, Rick; Koppius, Otto; Dolfsma, Wilfred
  8. Good standing and cooperation By Sergio Beraldo
  9. Peers, neighborhoods and immigrant student achievement - evidence from a placement policy By Åslund, Olof; Edin, Per-Anders; Fredriksson, Peter; Grönqvist, Hans
  10. Corruption, Voting and Employment Status: Evidence from Russian Parliamentary Elections By Olga Popova
  11. Corruption Perceptions: the Trap of Democratization, a Panel Data Analysis By Thomas Roca; Eda Alidedeoglu-Buchner

  1. By: Marco Caliendo; Frank Fossen; Alexander Kritikos
    Abstract: Experimental evidence reveals that there is a strong willingness to trust and to act in both positively and negatively reciprocal ways. So far it is rarely analyzed whether these variables of social cognition influence everyday decision making behavior. We focus on entrepreneurs who are permanently facing exchange processes in the interplay with investors, sellers, and buyers, as well as needing to trust others and reciprocate with their network. We base our analysis on the German Socio-Economic Panel and recently introduced questions about trust, positive reciprocity, and negative reciprocity to examine the extent that these variables influence the entrepreneurial decision processes. More specifically, we analyze whether i) the willingness to trust other people influences the probability of starting a business; ii) trust, positive reciprocity, and negative reciprocity influence the exit probability of entrepreneurs; and iii) willingness to trust and to act reciprocally influences the probability of being an entrepreneur versus an employee or a manager. Our findings reveal that, in particular, trust impacts entrepreneurial development. Interestingly, entrepreneurs are more trustful than employees, but much less trustful than managers.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, trust, reciprocity
    JEL: D81 J23 M13 L26
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Maria Vittoria Levati (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena); Topi Miettinen (Aalto School of Economics, Alto); Birendra K. Rai (Monash Univeristy, Clayton)
    Abstract: The existing literature acknowledges that a mismatch between the experimenter's and the subjects' models of an experimental task can adversely affect the interpretation of data from laboratory experiments. We discuss why the two common experimental designs (between-subjects and within-subjects) used to conduct experiments may fail to sufficiently account for this concern. An alternative design for laboratory experiments is proposed which may alleviate this concern especially in studies of social preferences. The proposed design is used to answer some questions that have attracted continued attention in the literature on social preferences in general and reciprocity in particular.
    Keywords: Experimental design, Context, Trust game
    JEL: C70 C90 D63 D64
    Date: 2010–12–14
  3. By: Luiz de Mello
    Abstract: This paper tests the hypothesis that, by giving people more voice in the government decision-making process, fiscal decentralisation fosters social capital, measured in terms of interpersonal trust. Empirical evidence based on World Values Survey data and seemingly unrelated probit estimations for a cross-section of countries suggests that people living in federal/decentralised countries find it more important to have voice in government decisions than their counterparts living in unitary/centralised countries. Pro-voice attitudes are, in turn, associated with greater social capital. The cross-country estimations are complemented by country-specific regressions for Brazil and Indonesia on account of these countries. experiences with fiscal decentralisation. The results show that the cohorts of individuals that have been exposed to decentralisation are in general more pro-voice (and trustful of strangers in the case of Brazil) than their counterparts that have not been exposed to decentralisation. These findings are not driven by the effects of political liberalisation on people.s attitudes towards the importance of having voice in government decisions and interpersonal trust.<P>La décentralisation budgétaire renforce-t-elle le capital sociétal ? : Données internationales et expérience du Brésil et de l’Indonésie<BR>On examine dans ce document l.hypothese selon laquelle en faisant participer davantage les administres a la prise de decision publique, la decentralisation budgetaire accroit le capital societal, mesure a travers la confiance interpersonnelle. Les resultats empiriques obtenus a partir des donnees de l.Etude sur les valeurs mondiales et les estimations probit apparemment non correlees pour un ensemble de pays montrent que les populations des Etats federaux/decentralises jugent plus important d.avoir leur mot a dire dans les decisions publiques que les populations des pays unitaires/centralises. De plus, les attitudes favorables a la participation se traduisent par une augmentation du capital societal. Les estimations internationales sont completees par des regressions specifiquement nationales pour le Bresil et l.Indonesie prenant en compte leur experience de la decentralisation budgetaire. On constate que les cohortes d.individus qui ont connu la decentralisation sont en general plus favorables a une participation (et ont plus confiance dans les etrangers dans le cas du Bresil) que celles qui n.en ont pas beneficie. Ces resultats ne tiennent pas aux effets de la liberalisation politique sur l.attitude des individus a l.egard de l.importance d.une participation aux decisions publiques et sur la confiance interpersonnelle.
    Keywords: social capital, Brazil, decentralisation, federalism, Indonesia, capital social, Brésil, décentralisation, fédéralisme, Indonésie
    JEL: H11 H30 H77
    Date: 2010–12–06
  4. By: Frederik Carlsson (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg); Mitesh Kataria (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena); Elina Lampi (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg); M. Vittoria Levati (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena)
    Abstract: We augment a standard dictator game to investigate how preferences for an environmental project relate to willingness to limit others' choices. We explore this issue by distinguishing three student groups: economists, environmental economists, and environmental social scientists. We find that people are generally disposed to grant freedom of choice, but only within certain limits. In addition, our results are in line with the widely held belief that economists are more selfish than other people. Yet, against the notion of consumer sovereignty, economists are not less likely to restrict others' choices and impose restrictions closer to their own preferences than the other student groups.
    Keywords: dictator game, charitable giving, social preferences, paternalism
    JEL: C92 D64
    Date: 2010–12–15
  5. By: D'Exelle, Ben (University of East Anglia); Riedl, Arno (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: We explore network effects on generosity for different network dimensions. To this end we elicit multiple network dimensions (friendship, social support, economic exchange, etc.) in a rural village in the Southern hemisphere and measure generosity with a sequence of dictator games conducted in the field. We find that networks of different dimensions differ substantially in density, clustering, and centrality. When relating generosity to networks we observe that social distance only matters for friendship ties but that structural network variables are important in all network dimensions. Importantly, these effects are not invariant across different network dimensions. We also find that individual characteristics are unrelated with generosity per se but that they have strong explanatory power for network formation.
    Keywords: networks, generosity, network formation, experiments
    JEL: C72 C90 D64 L14 Z13
    Date: 2010–12
  6. By: Blanca ZULUAGA
    Abstract: All individuals belong to a social network with certain quality level. This paper analyzes the role of the quality of the social network in the educational decision making process. We propose a measure for quality of network based on the schooling level and the labor position of the members of the net. Our analysis compares individuals who are similar in at least two characteristics: socioeconomic level and intellectual ability. Although they belong to the same type of community (poor), they differ in the composition of their social network. The higher the quality of the network, the higher the probability of investing in education. Hence, socially disadvantaged and equally intelligent individuals may end up acquiring different schooling levels.
    Date: 2010–10
  7. By: Aalbers, Rick (Atos Consulting); Koppius, Otto (RSM/Erasmus University); Dolfsma, Wilfred (RSM/Erasmus University)
    Abstract: Informal networks are often emphasized as facilitating knowledge transfer. However, we find that formal networks also contribute significantly to knowledge transfer, and in fact contribute more than informal networks. This is particularly the case when knowledge is transferred between units. Additional analysis shows a synergetic effect between formal and informal ties, which suggests that knowledge transfer effects that in previous studies were attributed to informal networks only, may in fact be caused by the combination of both formal and informal networks. We conclude that there is more than one path to transfer knowledge effectively.
    Keywords: Knowledge transfer; Formal networks; informal networks; multi-unit organizations.
    JEL: O30
    Date: 2010–12–15
  8. By: Sergio Beraldo
    Abstract: Indirect reciprocity is generally considered one of the leading mechanisms to explain how cooperation may emerge by natural selection. The basic intuition is that establishing a reputation of being a helpful individual increases the probability of being in turn helped. Two models have been proposed to describe how indirect reciprocity may work: the standing model (Sugden, 1986/2004) and the image-scoring model (Nowak and Sigmund, 1998a,b). Although there is evidence that the former model would perform better under a wide set of circumstances, it is often maintained that it requires individuals with an implausibly large capacity of processing recursive information. In this paper I argue that this is not actually the case. I then suggest that the information needed by the image-scoring model, under reasonable assumptions, may be sufficient for the standing model to work. Finally I emphasize that even if the hypothesis of indirect reciprocity is unable to give a fair account of the ecological bases of cooperation, it has inspired a deal of research precious to social sciences.
    Keywords: Cooperation, Indirect reciprocity, Good standing, Image-Scoring.
    JEL: C73 L14
    Date: 2010–12
  9. By: Åslund, Olof (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies); Edin, Per-Anders (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies); Fredriksson, Peter (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies); Grönqvist, Hans (SOFI)
    Abstract: We examine to what extent immigrant school performance is affected by the characteristics of the neighborhoods that they grow up in. We address this issue using a refugee place¬ment policy which provides exogenous variation in the initial place of residence in Sweden. The main result is that school performance is increasing in the number of highly educated adults sharing the subject’s ethnicity. A standard deviation increase in the fraction of high-educated in the assigned neighborhood raises compulsory school GPA by 0.9 percentile ranks. Particularly for disadvantaged groups, there are also long-run effects on educational attainment.
    Keywords: Peer effects; Ethnic enclaves; Immigration; School performance
    JEL: I20 J15 Z13
    Date: 2010–11–30
  10. By: Olga Popova
    Abstract: This paper examines to what extent the distribution of votes and voting behavior of people with different employment status are affected by regional differences in corruption. Using data from the Russian Parliamentary (State Duma) Elections 1999 and 2003, I develop and estimate a SUR system of equations which takes into account specific features of the Russian electoral system. The paper distinguishes between hard and perceived measures of corruption and analyzes the effects of corruption on the voting shares of particular parties and on voters' participation in elections. Additionally, a series of Monte Carlo simulations are performed to analyze the effects of corruption on the distribution of votes.
    Date: 2010–12
  11. By: Thomas Roca (GED, Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV); Eda Alidedeoglu-Buchner (Université Paris Dauphine)
    Abstract: L’indice de perception de la corruption de Transparency International (TI) est le plus célèbre des indicateurs de corruption depuis sa première publication, en 1995. Cet indicateur est également considéré comme la plus robuste des mesures de ce fléau. Cependant, puisque il s’agit précisément d’un indicateur basé sur des perceptions, il connait certaines limites. Bien que Transparency International appelle inlassablement à une utilisation plus prudente de ses indicateurs, les décideurs continuent de lui prêter un rôle d’outil d’aide à la prise de décision. Nous avions isolé, dans un article précédent, le rôle joué par les médias dans les perceptions de la corruption. Nous avions suggéré que les jeunes démocraties puissent être pénalisées par l’indicateur phare de Transparency International. En effet, nous avions montré que l’ouverture des médias conduisait à une meilleure couverture des actes de corruption, entrainant avec elle une plus forte perception de la corruption déjà existante, mais non révélée. Notre article précédent utilisait des données en coupe transversale. Dans un souci d’amélioration de la robustesse et de la précision de l’analyse précédemment menée, nous avons collecté des séries temporelles afin d’entreprendre une analyse en données de panel. Dans ce nouvel article, nous analysons le lien entre démocratie et perceptions de la corruption à la lueur d’un possible biais d’ouverture des régimes en place, biais que nous avions qualifié de « réflectif ». The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is the most famous corruption evaluation since its first publication by Transparency International (TI), in 1995. This index is also considered the most robust measure of corruption perceptions. However, since it precisely refers to perceptions, it inevitably faces some limitations. Although Transparency International continuously advocates for a better use of its indexes, policy makers keep using the CPI as a decision making tool. In a previous article we isolated the role played by the media in corruption perceptions. We previously suggested that young democracies were penalized by Transparency International. Indeed, we showed that media aperture leads to a better coverage of corruption deeds and therefore drives a stronger perception of already existing - but not yet broadcasted - corruption. Our previous paper was using cross-section data. Pursuing more consistent evidence and robustness improvement, we collected time series to perform a panel data analysis, questioning the stability and precision of our earlier findings. In this new paper, we investigate the link between democracy and corruption perceptions, in the light of a possible opening bias, we already called “reflective bias”. (Full text in french)
    JEL: O11 O17 O19
    Date: 2010–12

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