nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒06‒25
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. When do people cooperate? The neuroeconomics of prosocial decision making By Declerck C.H.; Boone Ch.; Emonds G.
  2. Empathy, Guilt-Aversion and Patterns of Reciprocity By Vittorio Pelligra
  3. Human capital, social capital and scientific research in Europe: an application of linear hierarchical models By Mathieu Goudard; Michel Lubrano
  4. For Benevolence and for Self-Interest: Social and Commercial Entrepreneurial Activity across Nations By Estrin, Saul; Mickiewicz, Tomasz; Stephan, Ute
  5. Peer Reporting and the Perception of Fairness By Douhou, S.; Magnus, J.R.; Soest, A.H.O. van
  6. Social Contacts and the Economic Performance of Immigrants: A Panel Study of Immigrants in Germany By Kanas, Agnieszka; Chiswick, Barry R.; van der Lippe, Tanja; van Tubergen, Frank
  7. Does corruption affect suicide? Empirical evidence from OECD countries By Yamamura, Eiji; Andrés , Antonio
  8. The roles of incentives and voluntary cooperation for contractual compliance By Simon Gaechter; Esther Kessler; Manfred Koenigstein
  9. Afraid of God or Afraid of Man: How religion shapes attitudes toward free riding and fraud By H'madoun M.
  10. Referral-based Job Search Networks By Dustmann, Christian; Glitz, Albrecht; Schönberg, Uta

  1. By: Declerck C.H.; Boone Ch.; Emonds G.
    Abstract: Understanding the roots of prosocial behavior is an interdisciplinary research endeavor that has generated an abundance of empirical data across many disciplines. This review integrates research findings from different fields into a theoretical framework that can account for when prosocial behavior is likely to occur. Specifically, we propose that the motivation to cooperate is generated by the reward system in the brain (extending from striatum to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex), and that it can be modulated by two neural networks: a cognitive control system (centered on the lateral prefrontal cortex) that processes extrinsic cooperative incentives, and/or a social cognition system (including the superior temporal sulcus, the anterior medial frontal cortex and the amygdala) that processes trust signals. The independent modulatory influence of incentives and trust on the decision to cooperate is substantiated by a growing body of neuroimaging data and reconciles the apparent paradox between economic versus social rationality in the literature, suggesting that we are in fact wired for both. Furthermore, the theoretical framework can account for substantial behavioral heterogeneity in prosocial behavior. Based on the existing data, we further postulate that self-regarding individuals (who are more likely to adopt an economically rational strategy) are more responsive to extrinsic cooperative incentives and therefore rely relatively more on cognitive control to make (un)cooperative decisions, whereas other-regarding individuals (who are more likely to adopt a socially rational strategy) are more sensitive to trust signals to avoid betrayal and recruit relatively more brain activity in the social cognition system.
    Date: 2011–06
  2. By: Vittorio Pelligra
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of an experiment aimed at investigating the link between empathy, anticipated guilt and pro-social behavior. In particular we test the hypothesis that empathy modulates the anticipatory effect of guilt in bargaining situations and, more specifically, that it correlates with subjects’ willingness to give and to repay trust in an investment game. We also control for the effect of individual risk attitude. Our main results show that empathy significantly influences players’ pattern of restitution in the investment game and that risk-propensity weakly affects the decision to trust; we also find a significant gender difference in the distribution of empathy. These results seem to indicate that empathy affects pro-social behavior in a more complex way than previously hypothesized by existing models of social preferences.
    Keywords: Trust; Reciprocity; Guilt-Aversion; Empathy
    JEL: C78 C91 D63
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Mathieu Goudard (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); Michel Lubrano (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: The theory of human capital is one way to explain individual decisions to produce scientific research. However, this theory, even if it reckons the importance of time in science, is too short for explaining the existing diversity of scientific output. The present paper introduces the social capital of Bourdieu (1980), Coleman (1988) and Putnam (1995) as a necessary complement to explain the creation of scientific human capital. This paper connects these two concepts by means of a hierarchical econometric model which makes the distinction between the individual level (human capital) and the cluster level of departments (social capital). The paper shows how a collection of variables can be built from a bibliographic data base indicating both individual behaviour including mobility and collective characteristics of the department housing individual researchers. The two level hierarchical model is estimated on fourteen European countries using bibliometric data in the fields of economics.
    Keywords: Economics of science; human capital; social capital; hierarchical models; European science
    Date: 2011–06–16
  4. By: Estrin, Saul (London School of Economics); Mickiewicz, Tomasz (University College London); Stephan, Ute (University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: We conceptualise social entrepreneurship as a source of social capital which, when present in the environment, enhances commercial entrepreneurship. We also argue that social entrepreneurship should be recognised as a second form of Baumol's (1990) productive entrepreneurship and that it will therefore compete at the individual level for resources with commercial entrepreneurship. Unlike institutional void theory, we see social entrepreneurship as conditional on institutional quality, but consistent with the institutional void perspective we see it as filling the gaps where government activism is lower. These arguments motivate our hypotheses that we test and largely confirm applying multilevel modelling. Our analysis is based on population-representative samples in 47 countries (the 2009 GEM dataset).
    Keywords: social capital, social entrepreneurship, institutional theory, resources, socio-cognitive theory
    JEL: L26
    Date: 2011–06
  5. By: Douhou, S.; Magnus, J.R.; Soest, A.H.O. van (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Economic motives are not the only reasons for committing a (small) crime. People consider social norms and perceptions of fairness before judging a situation and acting upon it. If someone takes a bundle of printing paper from the office for private use at home, then a colleague who sees this can either report it or not: peer reporting. We investigate how fairness perception influences peer reporting in this situation of incorrect behavior.
    Keywords: Peer reporting;Perception;Social norms;Fairness;Employee theft;Victimization.
    JEL: C35 D63 K42
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Kanas, Agnieszka (Utrecht University); Chiswick, Barry R. (George Washington University); van der Lippe, Tanja (Utrecht University); van Tubergen, Frank (Utrecht University)
    Abstract: Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we examined the impact of social contacts on immigrant occupational status and income. In addition to general social contacts, we also analyzed the effects of bonding (i.e., co-ethnic) and bridging (i.e., interethnic) ties on economic outcomes. Results show that general social contacts have a positive effect on the occupational status and, in particular, annual income of immigrants. We also find that bridging ties with Germans lead to higher occupational status, but not to increased income. These effects remain visible even when social contacts are measured (at least) one year prior to the economic outcomes, as well as when earlier investments in German human capital are considered. Finally, we show that co-ethnic concentration in the region of residence weakly affects economic returns to German language proficiency and schooling.
    Keywords: occupational status, social contacts, immigrants, income, panel data
    JEL: F22 J61 Z13
    Date: 2011–06
  7. By: Yamamura, Eiji; Andrés , Antonio
    Abstract: The question to what extent corruption influences suicide remains still unanswered. This paper examines the effect of corruption on suicide using a panel data approach for 24 OECD countries over the period 1995-1999. Our results indicate suicide rates are lower in countries with lower levels of corruption. We also find evidence that this effect is approximately three times larger for males than for females. It follows that corruption has a detrimental effect on societal well-being.
    Keywords: Corruption; Panel data; Suicide; Well- Being; OECD
    JEL: D73 H75 I18
    Date: 2011–06–14
  8. By: Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Esther Kessler (University College London); Manfred Koenigstein (Universitaet Erfurt)
    Abstract: Efficiency under contractual incompleteness often requires voluntary cooperation in situations where self-regarding incentives for contractual compliance are present as well. Here we provide a comprehensive experimental analysis based on the gift-exchange game of how explicit and implicit incentives affect cooperation. We first show that there is substantial cooperation under non-incentive compatible contracts. Incentive-compatible contracts induce best-reply effort and crowd out any voluntary cooperation. Further experiments show that this result is robust to two important variables: experiencing Trust contracts without any incentives and implicit incentives coming from repeated interaction. Implicit incentives have a strong positive effect on effort only under non-incentive compatible contracts.
    Keywords: principal-agent games; gift-exchange experiments; incomplete contracts, explicit incentives; implicit incentives; repeated games; separability; experiments
    JEL: C70 C90
    Date: 2011–06
  9. By: H'madoun M.
    Abstract: In the Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith captured the key elements of a theory – later developed by many others – of why religion matters for behavior: self-interest, belief prevailing over belonging and a religion with an image of god as omnipotent, all-seeing and judging. The goal of this paper is to test this theory empirically by investigating how religion constrains people’s willingness to engage in free riding and fraud, i.e. cheating on taxes, falsely claiming government benefits, free riding on public transport and accepting a bribe. The most recent wave of the World Values Survey (2005-2008) is used to look into whether religion might be a factor shaping people’s attitudes toward free riding, and to what extent belief or participation make a difference. Results show that religion effectively exerts an influence mainly through belief in god. This effect was only found significant in those country groups that share an image of god as an active, punishing and judging being in contrast to an abstract and distant transcendental essence. This corresponds to previous literature where the conjecture is that fear of an all-seeing and punishing god alters the costs and benefits associated with fraudulent or immoral behavior making it less attractive.
    Date: 2011–06
  10. By: Dustmann, Christian (University College London); Glitz, Albrecht (Universitat Pompeu Fabra); Schönberg, Uta (University College London)
    Abstract: This paper develops a model and derives novel testable implications of referral-based job search networks in which employees provide employers with information about potential job market candidates that they otherwise would not have. Using unique matched employer-employee data that cover the entire workforce in one large metropolitan labor market over a 20 year period, we find strong support for the predictions of our model. We first show that firms are more likely to hire minority workers from a particular group if the existing share of workers from that group employed in the firm is higher. We then provide evidence that workers earn higher wages, and are less likely to leave their firms, if they were hired by a firm with a larger share of minority workers from their own group and are therefore more likely to have obtained the job through a referral. The effects are particularly strong at the beginning of the employment relationship and decline with tenure in the firm. These findings have important implications in suggesting that job search networks help to reduce informational deficiencies in the labor market and lead to productivity gains for workers and firms.
    Keywords: networks, referrals, uncertainty
    JEL: J61 J63 J31
    Date: 2011–06

This nep-soc issue is ©2011 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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