nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒10‒09
seventeen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Explaining the Black/White Employment Gap: The Role of Weak Ties By Zenou, Yves
  2. Economic Sociology or Economic Imperialism? The Case of Gary C. Becker By Tittenbrun, Jacek S.
  3. Punish and Perish? By Angelo Antoci; Luca Zarri
  4. The social network's influences on individual performance By Piela, Jonas
  5. Why without pay? Intrinsic motivation in unpaid labour supply By Bruna Bruno; Damiano Fiorillo
  6. Structural social capital and health in Italy By Damiano Fiorillo; Fabio Sabatini
  7. Job Contact Networks and the Ethnic Minorities By Harminder Battu; Paul Seaman; Yves Zenou
  8. (Bad) Luck or (Lack of) Effort?: Comparing Social Sharing Norms between US and Europe. By Pedro Rey-Biel; Roman M. Sheremeta; Neslihan Uler
  9. The Causal Effect of Market Participation on Trust: An Experimental Investigation Using Randomized Control By Omar Al-Ubaydli; Daniel Houser; John V.C. Nye; Maria Pia Paganelli; Xiaofei (Sophia) Pan
  10. Quality and quantity: The role of social interactions in individual health By Damiano Fiorillo; Fabio Sabatini
  11. Social Approval, Competition and Cooperation By Xiaofei (Sophia) Pan; Daniel Houser
  12. Job satisfaction in Italy: individual characteristics and social relations By Damiano Fiorillo; Nunzia Nappo
  13. Bend It Like Beckham: Ethnic Identity and Integration By Alberto Bisin; Eleonora Patacchini; Thierry Verdier; Yves Zenou
  14. Emigration and democracy By Frederic Docquier; Elisabetta Lodigiani; Hillel Rapoport; Maurice Schiff
  15. The 'logic of gift' in business By Argandoña, Antonio
  16. Truth-telling and Trust in Sender-receiver Games with Intervention By Ismail Saglam; Mehmet Y. Gurdal; Ayca Ozdogan
  17. Does Political Reservation Affect Voting Behavior? Empirical Evidence from India By Yuko Mori; Takashi Kurosaki

  1. By: Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide a new mechanism based on social interactions explaining why minority workers have worse labor-market outcomes than majority workers. Building on Granovetter's idea that weak ties are superior to strong ties for providing support in getting a job, we develop a social interaction model where workers can obtain a job through either their strong or weak ties. In this model, it is better to meet weak ties because a strong tie does not help in the state where all best friends are unemployed. But a weak tie can help leaving unemployment in any state because that person might be employed. So there is an asymmetry that is key to the model and that explains why some workers (blacks) may be stuck in poverty traps having little contact with weak ties (whites) that can help them escape unemployment.
    Keywords: labor market; social networks; Weak ties
    JEL: A14 J15 Z13
    Date: 2011–09
  2. By: Tittenbrun, Jacek S.
    Abstract: The paper is devoted to a critical analysis of a number of key theories by Gary S. Becker. It is commonly believed that his main accomplishment lies in the extension of the scope of an economic analysis to include numerous traditionally considered as non-economic phenomena. This extension, however, is only feasible at the expense of another extension – this time of the scope of the concepts used. This over-inclusiveness , in turn, makes his theories impossible to falsify, thus calling into question their scientific quality. In the process of considering particular Becker’s conceptions, i.e. human and social capital, the family, marriage and household and the polity a host of other specific drawbacks of Becker’s economic approach to social processes, often related to his ideological bias are indicated.
    Keywords: Becker; human capital; social capital; marriage; altruism; self-interest family
    JEL: A12
    Date: 2011–09–25
  3. By: Angelo Antoci (DEIR, University of Sassari); Luca Zarri (Economics Department, University of Verona)
    Abstract: The evolution of large-scale cooperation among genetic strangers is a fundamental unanswered question in the social sciences. Behavioral economics has persuasively shown that so called ‘strong reciprocity’ plays a key role in accounting for the endogenous enforcement of cooperation. Insofar as strongly reciprocal players are willing to costly sanction defectors, cooperation flourishes. However, experimental evidence unambiguously indicates that not only defection and strong reciprocity, but also unconditional cooperation is a quantitatively important behavioral attitude. By referring to a prisoner’s dilemma framework where punishment (‘stick’) and rewarding (‘carrot’) options are available, here we show analytically that the presence of cooperators who don’t punish in the population makes altruistic punishment evolutionarily weak. We show that cooperation breaks down and strong reciprocity is maladaptive if costly punishment means ‘punishing defectors’ and, even more so, if it is coupled with costly rewarding of cooperators. In contrast, punishers don’t perish if cooperators, far from being rewarded, are sanctioned. These results, based on an extended notion of strong reciprocity, challenge evolutionary explanations of cooperation that overlook the ‘dark side’ of altruistic behavior.
    Keywords: Cooperation, Strong Reciprocity, Altruistic Punishment, Altruistic Rewarding, Heterogeneous Types
    JEL: C7 D7 Z1
    Date: 2011–08
  4. By: Piela, Jonas
    Abstract: --
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Bruna Bruno; Damiano Fiorillo (-)
    Abstract: Economic theory explains the supply of volunteering alternatively as an ordinary consumer good or an investment one. This paper provides a simultaneous approach considering both the objectives, by using the psychological distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, in order to reconcile conflicting results reported in the literature. According to the simultaneity approach, the paper develops a theoretical model of unpaid labour supply within an agent’s two-period utility maximization problem, taking into account the role of psychological motivation. The theoretical findings are tested with a sample selection model for Italy, by using 1997 Multipurpose Households Survey on everyday life issues of Istat. Robustness analysis and endogeneity test for intrinsic motivation are also performed. Empirical analysis rejects the hypothesis that only a consumption or investment motive could explain Italian volunteers’ behaviour, supporting the hypothesis that both motives interact in shaping regular unpaid labour supply, with a stronger impact of consumption motives. The relevant variables for frequently supplied unpaid labour are intrinsic motivation, age, household income, family responsibilities and activity sector.
    Keywords: Intrinsic motivation, investment and consumption motives, volunteering.
    JEL: C21 J22 Z13
    Date: 2011–03–31
  6. By: Damiano Fiorillo; Fabio Sabatini (-)
    Abstract: This paper presents the first empirical assessment of the causal relationship between social capital and health in Italy. The analysis draws on the 2000 wave of the Multipurpose Survey on Household conducted by the Italian Institute of Statistics on a representative sample of the population (n = 50,618). Our measure of social capital is the frequency of meetings with friends. Based on probit and instrumental variables estimates, we find that higher levels of social capital increase perceived good health.
    Keywords: health, instrumental variables, income, social interactions, social capital.
    JEL: I12 I18 Z1
    Date: 2011–07–25
  7. By: Harminder Battu (Department of Economics and Centre for European Labour Market Research (CELMR)); Paul Seaman (Department of Economic Studies, University of Dundee); Yves Zenou (Stockholm University, IFN, and CREAM)
    Abstract: Using data from the UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey, this paper examines the job finding methods of different ethnic groups in the UK. Our empirical findings suggest that, though personal networks are a popular method of finding a job for the ethnic minorities, the foreign born and those who identify themselves as non-British, they are not necessarily the most effective either in terms of gaining employment or in terms of the level of job achieved. However, there are some important differences across ethnic groups with some groups losing out disproportionately from using personal networks.
    Keywords: Job search, networks, social capital, ethnic disadvantage
    JEL: J15 J64
    Date: 2010–11
  8. By: Pedro Rey-Biel (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departmento de Economía e Historia Económica); Roman M. Sheremeta (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University, USA); Neslihan Uler (Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan)
    Abstract: We compare the determinants of individual giving between two countries, Spain and the US, which differ in their redistribution policies and their beliefs over the causes of poverty. By varying the information about the determinants of income, we find that, although overall giving is similar in both countries when subjects know the actual role of luck and effort, Spanish subjects give more when they are uninformed compared to American subjects. Using elicited beliefs, we find that this is due to Spanish subjects associating poverty with bad luck and Americans believing that low performers did not work hard enough.
    Keywords: individual giving, cross-cultural, beliefs, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C72 C91 D63 D81 H50
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Omar Al-Ubaydli (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University); Daniel Houser (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University); John V.C. Nye (Department of Economics, George Mason University); Maria Pia Paganelli (Department of Economics, Trinity University); Xiaofei (Sophia) Pan (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)
    Abstract: In randomized control laboratory experiments, we find that those primed to think about markets exhibit more trusting behavior. We randomly and unconsciously prime experimental participants to think about markets and trade. We then ask them to play a trust game involving an anonymous stranger. We compare the behavior of these individuals with that of a group who are not primed to think about anything in particular. Priming for market participation affects positively the beliefs about the trustworthiness of anonymous strangers, increasing trust.
    Keywords: trust, markets, institutions, belief, priming
    JEL: D02 D23 D64 D84 O12 O43 P10
    Date: 2011–09
  10. By: Damiano Fiorillo; Fabio Sabatini (-)
    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: 2011–03–23
  11. By: Xiaofei (Sophia) Pan (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University); Daniel Houser (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)
    Abstract: HollŠnder (1990) argued that when non-monetary social approval from peers is sufficiently valuable, it works to promote cooperation. HollŠnder, however, did not define the characteristics of environments in which high valued approval is likely to occur. This paper provides evidence from a laboratory experiment indicating that people under competition value approval highly, but only when winners earn visible rewards through approval. The evidence implies that approvalÕs value is tied to signaling motives. Our findings point to new institutions that rely on reward, rather than punishment, to efficiently promote generosity in groups.
    Keywords: social approval, cooperation, signaling, competition
    JEL: D02 D64 H4
    Date: 2011–09
  12. By: Damiano Fiorillo; Nunzia Nappo (-)
    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: 2011–05–31
  13. By: Alberto Bisin (New York University, Department of Economics; and NBER); Eleonora Patacchini (Universita' di Roma "La Sapienza," CEPR, and IZA); Thierry Verdier (Paris School of Economics and CEPR); Yves Zenou (Stockholm University, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, CEPR, and CREAM)
    Abstract: We propose a theoretical framework to study the determinants of ethnic and religious identity along two distinct motivational processes which have been proposed in the social sciences: cultural conformity and cultural distinction. Under cultural conformity, ethnic identity is reduced by neighborhood integration, which weakens group loyalties and prejudices. On the contrary, under cultural distinction, ethnic minorities are more motivated in retaining their own distinctive cultural heritage the more integrated are the neighborhoods where they reside and work. Data on ethnic preferences and attitudes provided by the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities in the UK enables us to test the relative significance of these two identity processes. We find evidence consistent with intense ethnic and religious identity mostly formed as a cultural distinction mechanism. Consistently, we document that ethnic identities are more intense in mixed than in segregated neighborhoods.
    Keywords: Ethnicity, identity, intermarriage, cultural transmission
    JEL: A14 J15
    Date: 2010–10
  14. By: Frederic Docquier (FNRS and IRES, Universite Catholique de Louvain); Elisabetta Lodigiani (CREA, Universite 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: 2011–01
  15. By: Argandoña, Antonio (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: Traditionally, the Social Doctrine of the Church was founded on principles and virtues. Then, the Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate introduced the "logic of gift" and the "principle of gratuitousness" as essential ingredients of economic life. In contrast, the traditional theory of the firm, based on contracts, has no place for love; and likewise, the economics of altruism and gift is inspired in self-interest, a paradigm that is alien to behavior ruled by love. This paper discusses the relationship between Benedict XVI's ideas on love and gift and the "logic of virtues", which has already been incorporated into the theory of the firm. Following an analysis of the concepts of love, gift and gratuitousness and of the role of virtues in management, a parallel is developed between acting in a virtuous way and "donating goods", material or otherwise, including developing virtues and "giving love". This argument is developed in three areas: the market (exchange of equivalents), the State (duty), and civil society (fraternity). The Encyclical underlines that the "logic of gift" should be present in all three, not only in the third sector.
    Keywords: Love; gift; gratuity/gratuitousness; virtue; theory firm;
    Date: 2011–07–15
  16. By: Ismail Saglam (TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics); Mehmet Y. Gurdal (TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics); Ayca Ozdogan (TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Recent experimental studies find excessive truth-telling in strategic information transmission games with conflictive preferences. In this paper, we show that this phenomenon is more pronounced in sender-receiver games where a truthful regulator randomly intervenes. We also establish that intervention significantly increases the excessive trust of receivers.
    Keywords: Strategic information transmission, truth-telling, trust, sender-receiver game.
    JEL: C72 C90 D83
    Date: 2011–09
  17. By: Yuko Mori; Takashi Kurosaki
    Abstract: Using microdata from the National Election Study of the 2004 parliamentary elections in India, we empirically examine the impact of political reservation for disadvantaged castes and tribes on voting behavior. We find that in a reserved constituency, where only members of the disadvantaged castes can stand for election, voters of the disadvantaged castes are encouraged to vote. On the other hand, the system of constituency reservation does not have any impact on the turnout of voters belonging to other groups, including relatively upper caste voters. These voters, however, tend to change political party to vote for in reserved constituencies. These findings imply that there is a general acceptance of political reservation in the Indian electoral system.
    Keywords: Political Reservation, Voter Turnout, Castes, India
    Date: 2011–09

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