nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒08‒09
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseen Technological Mistake By Stefan Bauernschuster; Oliver Falck; Ludger Wößmann
  2. Who trusts Berlusconi? An econometric analysis of the role of television in the political arena By Sabatini Fabio
  3. Effect of social capital on income distribution preferences: comparison of neighborhood externality between high- and low-income households By Yamamura, Eiji
  4. Energy service companies in China: The role of social networks and trust By Kostka, Genia; Shin, Kyoung
  5. Who benefits the most from peer effects within ethnic group ? Empirical evidence on the South African Labour Market By Gaëlle Ferrant; Yannick Bourquin
  6. The Impact of Institutions and Development on Happiness By Duha T. Altindag; Junyue Xu
  7. Is teenage motherhood contagious? Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Monstad, Karin; Propper, Carol; Salvanes, Kjell G
  8. A Network Approach to the Economic Models of Fertility By YOUM Yoosik

  1. By: Stefan Bauernschuster; Oliver Falck; Ludger Wößmann
    Abstract: Does the Internet undermine social capital or facilitate inter-personal and civic engagement in the real world? Merging unique telecommunication data with geo-coded German individual-level data, we investigate how broadband Internet affects several dimensions of social capital. One identification strategy uses panel information to estimate value-added models. A second exploits a quasi-experiment in East Germany created by a mistaken technology choice of the state-owned telecommunication provider in the 1990s that still hinders broadband Internet access for many households. We find no evidence that the Internet reduces social capital. For some measures including children’s social activities, we even find significant positive effects.
    Keywords: Internet, social capital
    JEL: Z13 J24
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Sabatini Fabio
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature by carrying out the first econometric investigation into the role of television in the formation of political consensus in Italy. Based on probit and instrumental variables estimates, we find trust in television to be the most significant predictor of trust in the Italian prime minister. The latter is also strongly and negatively correlated with trust in the judicial system and tolerance towards immigrants.
    Date: 2011–07
  3. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: This paper explores how individual preferences for income redistribution are influenced by social capital, which is measured by rates of participation in community activities. I combined individual-level data and place of residence data to examine how social capital accumulated in residential areas influences an individual’s preference for income redistribution. After controlling for individual characteristics, I obtained the following key findings: people are more likely to prefer income redistribution in areas with higher rates of community participation. This tendency is more clearly observed in high-income groups than in low-income groups. This implies that one’s preference for income redistribution is influenced by psychological externalities.
    Keywords: Redistribution; Social capital; Inequality; Externality
    JEL: D63 H20 D30 Z13
    Date: 2011–07–24
  4. By: Kostka, Genia; Shin, Kyoung
    Abstract: China's energy-service companies (ESCOs) have developed only modestly despite favorable political and market conditions. We argue that with sophisticated market institutions still evolving in China, trust-based relations between ESCOs and energy customers are essential for successful implementation of energy efficiency projects. Chinese ESCOs, who are predominantly small and private enterprises, perform poorly in terms of trust-building because they are disembedded from local business, social, and political networks. We conclude that in the current institutional setting, the ESCO model based on market relations has serious limitations and is unlikely to lead to large-scale implementation of energy efficiency projects in China. --
    Keywords: energy policies,energy service companies (ESCO),social networks,trust,China
    JEL: Q40 Q48 O53
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Gaëlle Ferrant (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Yannick Bourquin (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I)
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence that local social interactions within etnic groups may explain the puzzling variations in labour-market outcomes across individuals. Peer effects work first by creating pressure on labor-market participation, second, by conveying information about job opportunities and by raising wages. These effects differ through a selection effect : gender and ethnic groups who are less integrated in the labour market benefit more from peer effect. Finally, networks exhibit decreasing returns. The problems of endogeneity and simultaneity of local peer effects are addressed by using (i) data aggregated at the province level, (ii) the distribution of the sex of the peers' siblings as an instrumental variable and (iii) a quasi-panel data approach relying on the Hausman-Taylor estimator. The importance of social interactions in the labour market suggests that a social multiplier exists and our estimates show that any labour-market shock is magnified with an elasticity of 0.5.
    Keywords: Peer effects, development economics, labour, South Africa.
    Date: 2011–07
  6. By: Duha T. Altindag; Junyue Xu
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates that institutional factors influence the subjective well-being of individuals differently in rich versus poor countries. A lower level of corruption, a more democratic government and better civil rights increase the well-being of individuals in rich countries, whereas an increase in per capita income has no impact. On the contrary, in poor countries the extent of corruption, democracy and civil rights has no influence on happiness, but an increase in per capita income impacts happiness positively. This stark contrast may be due to the difference of preferences over income and institutional factors.
    Keywords: Economic Development; Happiness; Subjective Well-Being; Institutions
    JEL: I31 D60 D73
    Date: 2011–08
  7. By: Monstad, Karin; Propper, Carol; Salvanes, Kjell G
    Abstract: There is relatively little research on peer effects in teenage motherhood despite the fact that peer effects, and in particular social interaction within the family, is likely to be important. We estimate the impact of an elder sister’s teenage fertility on the teenage childbearing of their younger sister. To identify the peer effect we utilize an educational reform that impacted on the elder sister’s teenage fertility. Our main result is that within families, teen births tend to be contagious and the effect is larger where siblings are close in age and for women from low resource households.
    Keywords: education; spillover effects; teenage pregnancy
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2011–08
  8. By: YOUM Yoosik
    Abstract: Since its first appearance in the late 1950s, Neoclassical economic theory of fertility, especially as exemplified by Gary Becker's model of household production function that assumed a unitary utility function of the household, has become one of the most popular paradigms to examine fertility changes. This paper intends to expand the economic model by incorporating the social network approach into the original paradigm. Social networks are crucial in determining the fertility rate of a society above and beyond parameters originally included in the neoclassical economic model in two ways. First, the extent that separate utilities of spouses could be treated in one function is, in part, dependent on the network embeddedness of spouses: intra-household network. If spouses are not embedded into each other's networks, it would be natural to drop the assumption of the unitary utility function and reformulate the decision process based on bargaining. Second, in addition to the intra-household network, inter-house networks also play a role in couple's decisions with regard to fertility. Couples need information about other couples' fertility decisions for their own and also normative pressures from other couples or friends are crucial in the dynamic process of fertility change. Social networks are a major conduit both for information and normative constraints. This paper focuses on the first kind of networks (intra-household networks) with illustrative empirical results by using the two waves of Korean Longitudinal Survey of Women and Families (KLOWF).
    Date: 2011–08

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