nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒05‒24
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Transnational social capital and FDI. Evidence from Italian associations worldwide By Marina Murat; Barbara Pistoresi; Alberto Rinaldi
  2. Quality and quantity: the role of social interactions in individual health By Fiorillo, D;; Sabatini, F;
  3. Social and Ethical Considerations of Nuclear Power Development By Parkins, John R.; Haluza-DeLay, Randolph
  4. Impacts of social networks on well-being: evidence from Latino immigrants By Dozi, Pedro V.; Valdivia, Corinne
  5. The determinants of Italy’s regional imbalances over the long run: exploring the contributions of human and social capital By Emanuele Felice
  6. Doing Well by doing good - or doing better by delegating? By Gerald Eisenkopf; Urs Fischbacher
  7. Peer Effect, Risk-Pooling and Status Seeking: Which Matters to Gift Spending Escalation in Rural China? By Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
  8. Rationally Addicted to Cigarettes, Alcohol and Coffee? A Pseudo Panel Approach By Koksal, Aycan; Wohlgenant, Michael
  9. Emigration and Democracy By Frédéric Docquier; Elisabetta Lodigiani; Hillel Rapoport; Maurice Schiff
  10. Control and Efficiency in the Nonprofit Sector Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment By Bengtsson, Niklas; Engström, Per
  11. Can Tailored Communications Motivate Volunteers? A Field Experiment By Omar Al-Ubaydli; Min Sok Lee
  12. Efficiency, equality and reciprocity in social preferences: A comparison of students and a representative population. By Cappelen, Alexander W.; Nygaard, Knut; Sørensen, Erik Ø.; Tungodden, Bertil

  1. By: Marina Murat; Barbara Pistoresi; Alberto Rinaldi
    Abstract: Emigrant associations abroad are structured nodes of social networks; they are manifestations of a transnational social capital. Italian associations are numerous, spread across several countries, in some cases they exist since the end of the nineteenth century, and may count on high numbers of members. Also, they are robustly tied to the home country. This paper assesses the effects of Italian associations abroad on the bilateral FDI between Italy and the countries of settlement of Italian diaspora. The main results are that these effects are positive and strongly significant, especially for the inward FDI and relatively to the countries with the oldest associations.
    Keywords: international migration; FDI; Italy
    JEL: F21 F23
    Date: 2011–05
  2. By: Fiorillo, D;; Sabatini, F;
    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 Tthe role of satisfaction in interpersonal relations.
    Keywords: health; well-being; satisfaction; social interactions; social capital; family; Italy
    JEL: I12 I18 Z1
    Date: 2011–04
  3. By: Parkins, John R.; Haluza-DeLay, Randolph
    Abstract: A new urgency is emerging around nuclear power development and this urgency is accentuated by the post-tsunami events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. This urgency extends beyond these dramatic events in Japan, however, to many other regions of the world and situations where nuclear power development is receiving renewed attention as an alternative to carbon-based energy sources. As a contribution to the growing public debate about nuclear power development, this paper offers a set of insights into the social and ethicalaspects of nuclear power development by drawing from published literature in the humanities and social sciences. We offer insights into public risk perception of nuclear power at individual and national levels, the siting of nuclear waste repositories, the changing policy context for nuclear power development, social movements, and the challenges of risk management at the institutional level. We also pay special attention to the ethical aspects of nuclear power withattention to principles such as means and ends, use value and intrinsic value, private goods and public goods, harm, and equity considerations. Finally, we provide recommendations for institutional design and performance in nuclear power design and management.
    Keywords: nuclear power, risk perception, social context, megaprojects, energy production, applied ethics, social values, social movements, complexity, hazards, disaster response, Environmental Economics and Policy, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy, Risk and Uncertainty, Q40, Z00,
    Date: 2011–04
  4. By: Dozi, Pedro V.; Valdivia, Corinne
    Keywords: Institutional and Behavioral Economics,
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Emanuele Felice (Autonomous University of Barcelona and University of Siena)
    Abstract: The article aims to present and discuss estimates of levels of human and social capital in Italy’s regions over the long term, i.e. roughly from the second half of the nineteenth century up to the present day. The results are linked to newly available evidence for regional value added in order to begin to form an explanatory hypothesis of long-term regional inequality in Italy. More particularly, convergence in value added per capita across Italy’s regions is tested (through both cross-section and dynamic panel regressions) in light of the neoclassical exogenous growth approach, which incorporates human capital and social capital as conditioning variables into a long-term production function. On the whole, the results confirm the importance of conditioning variables, i.e. of regional differences in human capital and social capital, but also suggest that their impact significantly changed over the twentieth century, thus supporting the view that, in different periods, conditioning variables are determined by technological regimes.
    Keywords: regional history, human capital, social capital, convergence
    JEL: E13 E24 N93 N94 R11
    Date: 2011–03–28
  6. By: Gerald Eisenkopf (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany); Urs Fischbacher (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)
    Abstract: Machiavelli advises against delegating the distribution of favors. We test this claim in an experiment, in which an investor can directly transfer money to a trustee or delegate this decision to another investor. Varying the value of the transfers of the investor and the delegate, we find that the trustee’s rewards follow a rather simple pattern. In all situations, both investors are rewarded, but the person who actually decides gets a higher reward. Delegation only pays off for the initial decision maker if the value of the delegate’s transfer is much higher than the value of the investor’s transfer.
    Keywords: Delegation, trusts, reciprocity, intentions, experiment
    JEL: C91 D63
    Date: 2011–02–14
  7. By: Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: This paper is based on our ongoing joint work with Ravi Kanbur. Xi Chen is grateful to Ravi Kanbur for invaluable comments, guidance and encouragement. For comments and suggestions, please direct correspondence to Xi Chen at
    Keywords: Social Network, Peer Effect, Risk-pooling, Status Seeking, Gift-giving, Ceremony, Agricultural and Food Policy, Agricultural Finance, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Demand and Price Analysis, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, International Development, Public Economics, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, Risk and Uncertainty, I32, J22, D13, D63,
    Date: 2011–05
  8. By: Koksal, Aycan; Wohlgenant, Michael
    Abstract: In this paper, using pseudo panel data we analyze the relation between cigarette, alcohol, and coffee consumption within the rational addiction framework. Our purpose in this study is twofold. First, we want to get more insights about behavioral processes concerning cigarette, alcohol and coffee consumption. Second, we hope that our attempt to generalize rational addiction model to include three addictive goods will be useful to generate further research in the related literature. We found that cross price elasticity of cigarette with respect to alcohol price is negative, while cross price elasticity of alcohol with respect to cigarette price is positive. We believe that drinking works as a trigger for smoking especially in social settings like bars while it is also possible that people who want to cut cigarette consumption might increase alcohol consumption to cope with resulting stress, which induces an asymmetry in cross price elasticities. We did not find a strong relation between coffee consumption and the consumption of cigarette and alcohol. This finding does not rule out the possibility that coffee and cigarette are complements for certain people. However there is not a significant complementarity relationship when we look at the whole population.
    Keywords: cigarette, alcohol, coffee, rational addiction, pseudo panel, Demand and Price Analysis,
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Frédéric Docquier (FNRS and IRES, Université Catholique de Louvain); Elisabetta Lodigiani (CREA, Université du Luxembourg and Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano); Hillel Rapoport (CID, Harvard University, Bar-Ilan University and EQUIPPE); Maurice Schiff (World Bank, Development Economics Research Group)
    Abstract: Migration is an important and yet neglected determinant of institutions. The paper documents the channels through which emigration affects home country institutions and considers dynamic-panel regressions for a large sample of developing countries. We find that emigration and human capital both increase democracy and economic freedom. This implies that unskilled (skilled) emigration has a positive (ambiguous) impact on institutional quality. Simulations show an impact of skilled emigration that is generally positive, significant for a few countries in the short run and for many countries in the long run once incentive effects of emigration on human capital formation are accounted for.
    Keywords: Migration, Institutions, Democracy, Diaspora Effects, Brain Drain
    JEL: O1 F22
    Date: 2011–05–09
  10. By: Bengtsson, Niklas (Department of Economics); Engström, Per (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Results in behavioral economics suggest that material incentives can crowd out effort, if agents are mission-oriented rather than self-interested. We test this prediction on a sample of nonprofit organizations in Sweden. Swedish nonprofit organizations receive tax funds annually to promote global development issues through information campaigns. Traditionally, the contract with the main principal (the Swedish foreign aid agency) has been based on trust and self-regulation. We designed an experimental policy intervention, effectively replacing the trust-based contract with an increased level of monitoring from the principal, along with a threat to cut future funds if irregularities were detected. Our findings are inconsistent with (strong) motivational crowd-out. Overall, using both self-reported and observed measures of outreach, we find that the intervention improved efficiency. Graphical analysis shows that non-monitored organizations exhibit a distinct tendency to maximize expenditure; in contrast, organizations in the treatment group are more likely to return unused grants to Sida. Additionally,we find no crowding out of private contributions and no evidence of a \discouraged NGO"-syndrome.
    Keywords: Bureaucrats; NGO; Economics of psychology; Foreign aid; Randomized experiments; Hawthorne effect; Laboratory vs. field evidence; Treatment externalities; Spillover effects; Reference group contamination
    JEL: H83 L31 O19
    Date: 2011–05–04
  11. By: Omar Al-Ubaydli (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University); Min Sok Lee (Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation)
    Abstract: Over 25% of the US population volunteers. Clary et al. (1998) devised a survey that identifies a volunteer’s primary motive for volunteering. We investigate the effect of tailoring the communications that volunteers receive from their organizations (e.g., printed newsletters, update emails) to each volunteer’s stated motive for volunteering affects volunteer performance. We find that in general, such tailoring has no effect, but that for volunteers who are motivated primarily by the pursuit of careerrelated benefits, such tailoring can have a substantial, positive effect on hours volunteered. We also find that the (in)effectiveness of this tailoring does not depend upon the volunteers’ knowledge of the tailoring. The tailoring of communications does not involve the explicit manipulation of material incentives. This renders it particularly attractive given the emergence of evidence on how extrinsic incentives can crowd out intrinsic incentives, especially in the domain of charitable contributions.
    Keywords: volunteering, charitable contributions, priming, stereotype
    JEL: D64 L31
    Date: 2011–04
  12. By: Cappelen, Alexander W. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Nygaard, Knut (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Sørensen, Erik Ø. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Tungodden, Bertil (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: The debate between Engelmann and Strobel (2004, 2006) and Fehr, Naef, and Schmidt (2006) highlights the important question of the extent to which lab experiments on student populations can serve to identify the motivational forces present in society at large. We address this question by comparing the lab behavior of a student group and a non-student group, where the non-student group on all observable factors is almost identical to the representative adult population in Norway. All participants take part in exactly the same lab experiment. Our study shows that students may not be informative of the role of social preferences in the broader population. We nd that the representative participants differ fundamentally from students both in their level of selfishness and in the relative importance assigned to different moral motives. It is also interesting to note that while we do not find any substantial gender differences among the students, males and females in the representative group differ fundamentally in their moral motivation.
    Keywords: Representative sample; Social preferences; Laboratory experiment.
    JEL: C91 D63
    Date: 2010–11–15

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