nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒04‒16
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. See you on Facebook! A framework for analyzing the role of computer-mediated interaction in the evolution of social capital By Antoci Angelo; Sabatini Fabio; Sodini Mauro
  2. Does virtuous circle between social capital and CSR exist? A “network of games” model and some empirical evidence By Giacomo Degli Antoni; Lorenzo Sacconi
  3. Quality and quantity: The role of social interactions in individual health By Fiorillo Damiano; Sabatini Fabio
  4. Gender and Cooperation in Children: Experiments in Colombia and Sweden By Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo Cárdenas; Dreber, Anna Dreber; von Essen, Emma; Ranehill, Eva
  5. Pure Entertainment or Social Harmony? Understanding Private Returns to Social Spending on Household Ceremonies in China By Chen, Xi
  6. Cooperation in Partnerships: The Role of Breakups and Reputation By Ralph-C Bayer
  7. Trust in public institutions over the business cycle By Betsey Stevenson; Justin Wolfers
  8. Parents, Television and Cultural Change By Esther Hauk; Giovanni Immordino
  9. Do Immigrants Cause Crime? By Bianchi, Milo; Buonanno, Paolo; Pinotti, Paolo
  10. Trust and Fertility: Evidence from OECD countries By Yamamura, Eiji; Antonio R, Andrés
  11. Earning and saving competences of individuals in a local community in Poland By Barbara Liberda; Magdalena Szymczak
  12. Unofficial Development Assistance: A Dynamic Model of Charities' Donation Income By Arulampalam, Wiji; Backus, Peter G.; Micklewright, John

  1. By: Antoci Angelo; Sabatini Fabio; Sodini Mauro
    Abstract: Empirical studies have documented a decline in indicators of social participation in the last decades. The responsibility of social disengagement has been often attributed to pervasive busyness and the rising pressure of time. In this paper we argue that computer-mediated interaction, and particularly online networking, can help mitigate this downward trend. We develop a logical framework for assessing the role of the internet in the evolution of social participation. We analyze an economy where agents can develop their social interactions through two main modes of participation, one encompassing both online networking and face to face interactions, and another solely based on physical encounters. We study the interdependence between the rise in the pressure of time and the variation in the relative performance of the two strategies of participation.
    Keywords: Internet, computer-mediated communication, online networking, Facebook, social networks, social capital
    JEL: O33 Z13
    Date: 2011–03
  2. By: Giacomo Degli Antoni; Lorenzo Sacconi
    Abstract: Social capital and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have received increasing attention in research on the role that elements such as trust, trustworthiness and social norms of reciprocity and cooperation may have in promoting socio-economic development. Although social capital and CSR seem to have features in common, their relationship has not yet been analysed in depth. This paper investigates the idea of a virtuous circle between the level of social capital and the implementation of CSR practices that fosters the creation of cooperative networks between the firm and all its stakeholders. By using both a theoretical approach developed by considering tools of network analysis and psychological game theory and an empirical approach based on original evidence from three case studies, this study shows the role that cognitive social capital (understood as a disposition to conform with ethical principles of cooperation) and the adoption of CSR practices may have in promoting the emergence of sustainable networks of relations between the firm and all its stakeholders (structural social capital).
    Keywords: Social capital, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social norms, Network, Cooperation, Trust
    JEL: A13 D23 L21 M14 Z10
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Fiorillo Damiano; Sabatini Fabio
    Abstract: The public health literature focusing on the detrimental effects of social isolation has shown that the quantity of social connections is positively correlated with individual health. Drawing on pooled cross-sectional data, we test this hypothesis on a representative sample of the Italian population. Our findings show that, besides the quantity of interactions, it is their quality – as measured by subjective satisfaction derived from relationships with friends – that works as the best predictor of health. We point out the existence of health disparities based on socio-economic status. Poorer and less educated individuals are exposed to a higher probability of reporting poor health conditions. The risk is even worse for unemployed and retired workers. This paper contributes to the literature in two substantive dimensions. This is the first empirical study of the relationship between social interactions and health in Italy. Second, we add to previous studies by carrying out the first assessment of the role of satisfaction in interpersonal relations.
    Keywords: Health, well-being, satisfaction, social interactions, social capital, family, Italy
    JEL: I12 I18 Z1
    Date: 2011–03
  4. By: Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo Cárdenas (Universidad de los Andes); Dreber, Anna Dreber (Institute for Financial Research (SIFR)); von Essen, Emma (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University); Ranehill, Eva (Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: We compare how children aged 9-12 in Colombia and Sweden cooperate in a Prisoner’s Dilemma. We introduce a new measurement device for cooperation that can be easily understood by children. There is some evidence of more cooperation in Sweden than in Colombia. Girls in Colombia are less cooperative than boys, whereas our results indicate the opposite in Sweden. Girls are in general more cooperative with boys than with girls. Relating cooperation to competitiveness, this appears to be task and country dependent.
    Keywords: Cooperation; children; gender differences; experiment
    JEL: C91 J16
    Date: 2011–04–11
  5. By: Chen, Xi
    Abstract: Recent social spending inflation in China has led to its growth rate far exceeding that of income and other consumption. In this paper, we estimate private returns to social spending, such as higher social status and larger social network that serve as certain functions. In almost all specifications we find that gift spending has significant private returns, but the returns are biased towards richer households. Upon comparing different measures of centrality, we also find that social connections are more accurately characterized when weighted by their intensities (values), capturing their role in mobilizing scarce resource in the network. Furthermore, social status and network may change long-term income trajectory and the resulted consumption. However, our findings do not suggest that they are vehicles through which they could facilitate smoother consumption against shocks. The result does not depend on how heterogeneous the shocks are.
    Keywords: social network, social status, private return, social spending, consumption, Consumer/Household Economics,
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Ralph-C Bayer (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: We investigate experimentally if endogenous partnership formation can improve efficiency in social dilemma situations. Subjects play multiple two-player public goods games, where they can break up with their current partner after every fourth game. Subjects without a partner provide rankings of the available other singles regarding their preferred subject to be matched with. A stable marriage mechanism determines the new matches. We vary the information subjects have when they express their preferences for their future matches and also if staying in a partnership leads to a cost or a bonus. We find that endogenous group formation can increase efficiency. Both the provision of contribution history at the time of re-matching and bonuses for staying in a partnership have positive effects. At least one of the two positive factors has to be present for an efficiency improvement. The presence of both leads to the best results.
    Keywords: Social Dilemma, Endogenous Group Formation, Public Goods
    JEL: D83 H41
    Date: 2011–04
  7. By: Betsey Stevenson; Justin Wolfers
    Abstract: We document that trust in public institutions—and particularly trust in banks, business and government—has declined over recent years. U.S. time series evidence suggests that this partly reflects the pro-cyclical nature of trust in institutions. Cross-country comparisons reveal a clear legacy of the Great Recession, and those countries whose unemployment grew the most suffered the biggest loss in confidence in institutions, particularly in trust in government and the financial sector. Finally, analysis of several repeated cross-sections of confidence within U.S. states yields similar qualitative patterns, but much smaller magnitudes in response to state-specific shocks.
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Esther Hauk (Institute of Economic Analysis, Spanish Research Council (IAE-CSIC) and Barcelona GSE); Giovanni Immordino (Università di Salerno and CSEF)
    Abstract: This paper develops a model of cultural transmission where television plays a central role for socialization. Parents split their free time between educating their children, which is costly, and watching TV which though entertaining might socialize the children to the wrong trait. The free to air television industry maximizes advertisement revenue. We show that TV watching is increasing in cultural coverage, cost of education, TV’s entertainment value and decreasing in the perceived cultural distance between the two traits. A monopolistic television industry captures all TV watching by both groups if the perceived cultural distance between groups is small relative to the TV’s entertainment value. Otherwise, more coverage will be given to the most profitable group where profitability increases in group size, advertisement sensitivity and perceived cultural distance. This leads to two possible steady states where one group is larger but both groups survive in the long run. Competition in the media industry might lead to cultural extinction but only if one group is very insensitive to advertisement and not radical enough not to watch TV. We briefly discuss the existing evidence for the empirical predictions of the model.
    Keywords: television, socialization, cultural trait dynamics, media coverage
    JEL: Z1 L82
    Date: 2011–04–05
  9. By: Bianchi, Milo; Buonanno, Paolo; Pinotti, Paolo
    Abstract: We examine the empirical relationship between immigration and crime across Italian provinces during the period 1990-2003. Drawing on police administrative records, we first document that the size of the immigrant population is positively correlated with the incidence of property crimes and with the overall crime rate. Then, we use instrumental variables based on immigration toward destination countries other than Italy to identify the causal impact of exogenous changes in Italy's immigrant population. According to these estimates, immigration increases only the incidence of robberies, while leaving un- affected all other types of crime. Since robberies represent a very minor fraction of all criminal offenses, the effect on the overall crime rate is not significantly different from zero.
    Keywords: Immigration; Crime
    JEL: F22 J15 K42 R10
    Date: 2010–11
  10. By: Yamamura, Eiji; Antonio R, Andrés
    Abstract: Using panel data for 24 (OECD) countries during the period 1980–2004 this study examines how social trust affects fertility. The major finding through the random effects approach is that the social trust increases the fertility rate. A 1% rise in the trust rate leads to an increase in fertility by 0.01 points. The results presented here suggest that in developed countries, trust underlies the desirable circumstances for child rearing.
    Keywords: Trust; fertility; OECD; inequality; female labor participation.
    JEL: J13 Z13
    Date: 2011–03–18
  11. By: Barbara Liberda (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Magdalena Szymczak (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to identify variables that affect the capability of an individual to earn and save income. Our hypothesis is that besides demographic and human capital determinants, social, cultural and psychological variables affect strongly the individual’s earning and saving competences. We test our hypothesis using a method of decision tree (Exhaustive search Chi – squared Automatic Interaction Detection) to identify the earning and saving competences of individuals in Poland. In the decision tree analysis we found factors that are conducive for earning and saving. These factors includes: fairness, attitude towards cheating at exams, tolerance towards persons of different religion and different skin color, trust in judges and scientists, social risk aversion, evaluating own health status, asking for advice. This theoretical approach is applied to micro data from a Survey on Civilization Competences of individuals in local communities conducted in July-September 2009 in five regions of Poland.
    Keywords: earning, saving, capability, competence, income, municipality
    JEL: D11 D12 D14
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Arulampalam, Wiji (University of Warwick); Backus, Peter G. (University of Warwick); Micklewright, John (Institute of Education, University of London)
    Abstract: The empirical literature on the determinants of charities donation income, distinguishing the charitable cause, is small. We extend the literature in several ways. First, we focus on overseas development charities allowing us to give more consideration to the particular characteristics of this cause. Second, we look at the impact of macroeconomic change over a quarter century including changes in household income and in government spending on ODA, as well as 'charity level' variables that earlier authors have considered. Third, we use a general dynamic model and rigorous testing procedures to arrive at our specification. Using a newly assembled long panel of data, we find evidence of a strong, but diminishing fundraising effect. We find no evidence of crowding out by either grants made directly to charities or by changes in the public provision of development funding.
    Keywords: overseas development, charitable giving
    JEL: L3 D1 D6 F3
    Date: 2011–04

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