nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒07‒13
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. The Economic Impact of Social Ties: Evidence from German Reunification By Burchardi, Konrad B.; Hassan, Tarek
  2. Social capital literature and Durlauf´s criticism By Lízia Figueiredo
  3. Public disclosure of players’ conduct and Common Resources Harvesting: Experimental Evidence from a Nairobi Slum By Leonardo Becchetti; Pierluigi Conzo; Giacomo Degli Antoni
  4. Endogenous Norm Formation over the Life Cycle. The case of tax evasion By Nordblom, Katarina; Zamac, Jovan
  5. Job satisfaction in Italy: Individual characteristics and social relations By Fiorillo, D;; Nappo, N;
  6. An analysis of disaster prevention capability from a standpoint of social capital in Shinjuku-ku By Yuichi Marumo
  7. Differences in the effect of social capital on health status between workers and non-workers By Yamamura, Eiji
  8. A Note on Within-group Cooperation and Between-group Interaction in the Private Provision of Public Goods By Hattori, Keisuke
  9. Self-Help Groups and Mutual Assistance: Evidence from Urban Kenya By Fafchamps, Marcel; La Ferrara, Eliana
  10. The relationship between happiness and health: evidence from Italy By Sabatini, F;
  11. Regional Unemployment and Norm-Induced Effects on Life Satisfaction By Adrian Chadi
  12. Corporate Social Responsibility in the work place - Experimental evidence on CSR from a gift-exchange game By Hannes Koppel; Tobias Regner
  13. Corruption and Network in Education: Evidence from the Household Survey Data in Bangladesh By Chongwoo Choe; Ratbek Dzhumashev; Asadul Islam; Zakir H. Khan
  14. Moral Emotions and Partnership By Jürgen Bracht; Tobias Regner
  15. Weekends and Subjective Well-Being By John F. Helliwell; Shun Wang
  16. Race, Social Class, and Bulimia Nervosa By Goeree, Michelle S.; Ham, John C.; Iorio, Daniela

  1. By: Burchardi, Konrad B.; Hassan, Tarek
    Abstract: We use the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to identify a causal effect of social ties on regional economic growth. We show that households who have social ties to East Germany in 1989 experience a persistent rise in their personal incomes after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Moreover, the presence of these households significantly affects economic performance at the regional level: it increases the returns to entrepreneurial activity, the share of households who become entrepreneurs, and the likelihood that firms based within a given West German region invest in East Germany. As a result, West German regions which (for idiosyncratic reasons) have a high concentration of households with social ties to the East exhibit substantially higher growth in income per capita in the early 1990s. A one standard deviation rise in the share of households with social ties to East Germany in 1989 is associated with a 4.6 percentage point rise in income per capita over six years. We interpret our findings as evidence that social ties between individuals can indeed facilitate economic growth.
    Keywords: economic development; German Reunification; migration; networks; social ties
    JEL: J61 L14 O11
    Date: 2011–07
  2. By: Lízia Figueiredo (Cedeplar-UFMG)
    Abstract: Despite the lack of consensus on the appropriate concept of ‘social capital’, research in the area has continued even in the most criticized macroeconomic area. The investigation about the importance of social capital to generate differences in regional per capita income (per capita income growth rates) had new contributions in the last decade. Robustness analysis was carried on for cross-country analysis and interregional studies were explored. Empirical research was usually based on the idea that social capital is ‘norms, networks and trust’, although without a deep discussion about this choice. We will argue that the acceptance of this pragmatic concept was wise, not only because it allowed empirical research to follow one, but also because it is theoretically well established. We will also argue that the concern about robustness is one of the main ways ahead to the macro research, which was exactly the way followed by this literature. In other words, we will argue that economists follow a good practice in the episode and that the fruits of the research allow us to rethink and improve the way economists behave.
    Keywords: social capital, economic methodology, economic growth.
    JEL: B22 B41 O11 O40 Z13
    Date: 2011–07
  3. By: Leonardo Becchetti (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Pierluigi Conzo (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Giacomo Degli Antoni (University of Milano, Bicocca)
    Abstract: We evaluate the effect of information disclosure on players’ behaviour in a multiperiod common pool resource game experiment run in an area of notably scarce social capital such as the Nairobi slum of Kibera. We document divergence of average withdrawal rates across time with an increasingly lower cooperation in the non anonimous setting. We demonstrate that information induced asymmetric conformity contributes to explain what we observe, that is, players who withdraw less than the average of the group in the previous round react more negatively when individual payoffs are disclosed than when they are not, and their reaction is less than compensated by the mean reversion of those who withdrew more. Our results are consistent with the (Ostrom, 2000) hypothesis that, in absence of punishment, disclosure of information about individual (cooperative or non cooperative) behaviour makes common resource management more difficult and tragedy of the commons easier.
    Keywords: common pool resource game, conformism, information disclosure field experiments, tragedy of commons
    JEL: C93 Q20 H40
    Date: 2011–06–30
  4. By: Nordblom, Katarina (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Zamac, Jovan (Dept of Economics, Uppsala University)
    Abstract: This paper offers an explanation to why the general observation that elderly hold stronger moral attitudes than young ones may be an age rather than a cohort effect. We apply mechanisms from social psychology to explain how personal norms may evolve over the life cycle. We assume that people update their norms influenced by their own past behavior (e.g., cognitive dissonance) and/or by the attitudes of their peers (normative conformity). We apply the theory on actual norm distributions for young and old concerning tax evasion. Allowing for heterogeneous updating of norms where only those who identify with their network are actually conforming with it, while the others are only influenced by their own past behavior, we can explain the difference between young and old people’s moral values as an age effect through endogenous norm formation.
    Keywords: Social norms; Endogenous norms; Tax evasion; Cognitive dissonance; Self-signaling; Normative conformity
    JEL: H26
    Date: 2011–07–01
  5. By: Fiorillo, D;; Nappo, N;
    Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of job satisfaction in Italy with particular emphasis on social relations. Our econometric analysis is based on four waves (1993, 1995, 1998 and 2000) of the Multipurpose Household Survey conducted annually by the Italian Central Statistics Office. The results of ordered probit regressions and robustness tests show that volunteering and meetings with friends are significantly and positively correlated with job satisfaction, with religious participation playing the biggest role. Our findings also show that meetings with friends increase job satisfaction through self-perceived health.
    Keywords: Job satisfaction, social relations, social capital, health, statistical matching, Italy
    JEL: C31 J28 Z1
    Date: 2011–06
  6. By: Yuichi Marumo (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies)
    Abstract: This survey was targeted at local habitants of four areas (Yotsuya, Tansumachi, Enoki, Wakamatsu) in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. On August 31, 2010, the questionnaires were sent, requesting respondents to send a reply by September 28, to examine the correlation among local residents, communities and local administrations to cope with a natural disaster.Exploratory factor analyses to find a few latent background factors from many items obtained by the questionnaires to Shinjuku-ku residents were conducted. To predict the correlation of individual items and factors that existed behind them, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used.
    Keywords: social capital, disaster prevention, community, SEM
    Date: 2011–05
  7. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between social capital and self-rated health status in Japan, and how this is affected by the labor market. Data of 3075 adult participants in the 2000 Social Policy and Social Consciousness (SPSC) survey were used. Controlling for endogenous bias, the main finding is that social capital has a significant positive influence on health status for people without a job but not for those with. This empirical study provides evidence that people without a job can afford to allocate time to accumulate social capital and thereby improve their health status.
    Keywords: health status; social capital; labor market.
    JEL: I19 J22 Z13
    Date: 2011–07–02
  8. By: Hattori, Keisuke
    Abstract: Using a simple two-group model of the private provision of public goods, this paper investigates how endogenous formation of within-group cooperation is affected by different types and degrees of between-group interactions. We show that when between-group interactions are of the same directions and weak (strong), within-group cooperation for providing public goods will (will not) occur in each group for strategic reasons. On the other hand, when between-group interactions are of the opposite directions or unidirectional, within-group cooperation will necessarily occur. In addition, endogenous formation of cooperation is independent of absolute (individual) levels of income as well as income distribution between agents, which corresponds to an extended version of Warr's neutrality theorem. We also show whether endogenous formation of within-group cooperation is beneficial or harmful to each group crucially depends on the degree of between-group interactions. The variation in the interaction degree leads to three different types of games concerning welfare consequences: the Prisoners' Dilemma, Coordination Game, and Invisible Hand.
    Keywords: Private provision; Public goods; Cooperation;
    JEL: H41 C72
    Date: 2011–07–06
  9. By: Fafchamps, Marcel; La Ferrara, Eliana
    Abstract: This paper examines the incomes of individuals who have joined self-help groups in poor neighborhoods of Nairobi. Self-help groups are often advocated as a way of facilitating income pooling. We find that incomes are indeed more correlated among individuals in the same group than among individuals who belong to different groups. Using an original methodology, we test whether this correlation is due to self-selection of similar individuals into the same groups. We find that this correlation is not driven by positive assortative matching. If anything, selection works in the opposite direction: incomes from group activities would be more correlated if individuals were matched at random. These findings are consistent with the idea that self-help groups play a mutual assistance role.
    Keywords: income pooling; self-help groups
    JEL: O12 O17
    Date: 2011–06
  10. By: Sabatini, F;
    Abstract: We test the relationship between happiness and self-rated health in Italy. The analysis relies on a unique dataset collected through the administration of a questionnaire to a representative sample (n = 817) of the population of the Italian Province of Trento in March 2011. Based on probit regressions, instrumental variables estimates and structural equations modelling, we find that happiness is strongly correlated with perceived good health, after controlling for a number of relevant socio-economic phenomena. Health inequalities based on income, work status and education are relatively contained in respect to the rest of Italy. As expected, this scales down the role of social capital.
    Keywords: cooperative enterprises; happiness; health; instrumental variables; Italy; life satisfaction; non-profit; social capital; structural equations modelling.
    JEL: I12 I18 Z1
    Date: 2011–06
  11. By: Adrian Chadi
    Abstract: While rising unemployment generally reduces people’s happiness, researchers argue that there is a compensating social-norm effect for the unemployed individual, who might suffer less when it is more common to be unemployed. This empirical study, however, rejects this thesis for German panel data and finds individual unemployment to be even more hurtful when aggregate unemployment is higher. On the other hand, an extended model that separately considers individuals who feel stigmatised from living off public funds yields strong evidence that this group of people does in fact suffer less when the normative pressure to earn one’s own living is lower.
    Keywords: social norms, unemployment, well-being, social benefits, labour market policies
    JEL: I3 J6
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Hannes Koppel (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena); Tobias Regner (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)
    Abstract: We analyze the effect of investments in corporate social responsibility (CSR) on workers' motivation. In our experiment, a gift exchange game variant, CSR is captured by donating a certain share of profits to a charity. We are testing for CSR effects by varying the possible share of profits given away. Additionally, we investigate the effect of a mission match, i.e., a worker prefering the same charity the firm is actually donating to. Our results show that on average workers reciprocate investments into CSR with increased effort. A mission match does result in higher effort, but only when investment into CSR is high.
    Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, gift-exchange game, experiment, labor market, incentives
    JEL: C73 C91 J01 M14 M52
    Date: 2011–06–30
  13. By: Chongwoo Choe; Ratbek Dzhumashev; Asadul Islam; Zakir H. Khan
    Abstract: We examine the causes and consequences of corruption in the provision of education service in Bangladesh. Our empirical analysis is based on the 2007 household survey data collected by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), which measure actual corruption. Our main findings are (i) both the incidence of corruption and the amount of bribe increase in the level of red tape, (ii) poorer households, households with less educated household head, and households with girls studying in school are more likely to be victims of corruption, (iii) households with higher social status are more likely to rely on informal network to bypass the red tape or pay less amount of bribe and, as a result, (iv) corruption in the education sector is likely to be regressive.
    Keywords: education, corruption, bribery, Bangladesh
    JEL: K4 O1
    Date: 2011–06
  14. By: Jürgen Bracht (University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom); Tobias Regner (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Germany)
    Abstract: Actual behaviour is influenced in important ways by moral emotions, for instance guilt or shame (see among others Tangney et al., 2007). Belief-dependant models of social preferences using the framework of psychological games aim to consider such emotions to explain other-regarding behaviour. Our study links recent advances in psychological theory on moral emotions to belief-dependant models in economics. We find that - in addition to the positive effect of second-order beliefs and promises - individuals' disposition to guilt (their proneness to respond in an evaluative way to personal transgressions) is an important determinant of kind behaviour. This applies to private as well as public settings.
    Keywords: social preferences, other-regarding behaviour, experiments, psychological game theory, guilt aversion, shame, beliefs, emotions, partnership
    JEL: C70 C91 D82
    Date: 2011–06–28
  15. By: John F. Helliwell; Shun Wang
    Abstract: This paper exploits the richness and large sample size of the Gallup/Healthways US daily poll to illustrate significant differences in the dynamics of two key measures of subjective well-being: emotions and life evaluations. We find that there is no day-of-week effect for life evaluations, represented here by the Cantril Ladder, but significantly more happiness, enjoyment, and laughter, and significantly less worry, sadness, and anger on weekends (including public holidays) than on weekdays. We then find strong evidence of the importance of the social context, both at work and at home, in explaining the size and likely determinants of the weekend effects for emotions. Weekend effects are twice as large for full-time paid workers as for the rest of the population, and are much smaller for those whose work supervisor is considered a partner rather than a boss and who report trustable and open work environments. A large portion of the weekend effects is explained by differences in the amount of time spent with friends or family between weekends and weekdays (7.1 vs. 5.4 hours). The extra daily social time of 1.7 hours in weekends raises average happiness by about 2%.
    JEL: D69 J28 J81 Z19
    Date: 2011–06
  16. By: Goeree, Michelle S. (University of Zurich); Ham, John C. (University of Maryland); Iorio, Daniela (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore a serious eating disorder, bulimia nervosa (BN), which afflicts a surprising number of girls in the US. We challenge the long-held belief that BN primarily affects high income White teenagers, using a unique data set on adolescent females evaluated regarding their tendencies towards bulimic behaviors independent of any diagnoses or treatment they have received. Our results reveal that African Americans are more likely to exhibit bulimic behavior than Whites; as are girls from low income families compared to middle and high income families. We use another data set to show that who is diagnosed with an eating disorder is in accord with popular beliefs, suggesting that African American and low-income girls are being under-diagnosed for BN. Our findings have important implications for public policy since they provide direction to policy makers regarding which adolescent females are most at risk for BN. Our results are robust to different model specifications and identifying assumptions.
    Keywords: bulimia nervosa, race, income, education
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2011–06

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