nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒10‒15
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Inequality, trust, and sustainability By Kemp-Benedict, Eric
  2. The emergence of emotions and pro-social and religious sentiments during the September 11 disaster By David A Savage; Benno Torgler
  3. The Impact of Social Capital on the Implicit Price Paid by the Italian Consumer for Fair Trade Coffee By Bosbach, Moritz; Maietta, Ornella Wanda
  4. Regional Councils in the Creation of Social Capital By Murray, Catherine
  5. Gender Differences in Pro-social Behaviour: The Case of Fair-trade Food Consumers By Devitiis, Biagia De; Luca, Anna I. De; Maietta, Ornella Wanda
  6. Mechanisms of peer interactions between native and non-native students: rejection or integration? By Marco Tonello
  7. The Local Ladder Effect: Social Status and Subjective Well-Being By Anderson, Cameron; Kraus, Michael W.; Keltner, Dacher
  8. Co-experience Network Dynamics: Lessons from the Dance Floor. By Massimo Riccaboni; Anna Romiti; Gianna Giudicati
  9. The Importance and Role of Trust in Agricultural Co-operation â Some Empirical Experiences from Hungary By Szabo, Gabor G.; Baranyai, Zsolt; Takacs, Istvan
  10. A Simple Approach for Organizing Behavior and Explaining Cooperation in Repeated Games By Asen Ivanov; Douglas D. Davis; Korenok Oleg
  11. An Economic-Psychological Model of Sustainable Food Consumption By Lombardini, Chiara; Lankoski, Leena
  12. Free-Riding and Performance in Collaborative and Non-Collaborative Groups By Besedes, Tibor; Deck, Cary; Quintanar, Sarah; Sarangi, Sudipta; Shor, Mikhael
  13. Which Way to Cooperate By Kaplan, Todd; Ruffle, Bradley
  14. Leaving home and housing prices. The experience of Italian youth emancipation By Francesca Modena; Concetta Rondinelli

  1. By: Kemp-Benedict, Eric
    Abstract: Instrumental arguments linking inequality to sustainability often suppose a negative relationship between inequality and social cohesion, and empirical studies of inequality and social trust support the assumption. If true, then redistribution should increase levels of social cohesion and thereby ease the implementation of policies that require collective action to achieve shared benefits. However, an examination of the data suggests that at least part of the relationship may be explained by income level, rather than income distribution, suggesting that growth, rather than redistribution, may achieve the same goal. This paper tests for the possibility and suggests that income is indeed important in explaining differences in levels of social trust. However, the effect of income level is insufficient to explain all of the dependence on income inequality; both income level and income distribution are correlated with social trust. The analysis is done at the income decile level using individual response data from the World Values Survey. While the analysis is limited by the availability and reliability of the underlying data, the results suggest that neither redistribution nor growth alone is sufficient to raise a low-trust country to a position of medium or high trust. Rather, using the parameters estimated in this paper, a combination of growth with narrowing income distributions could, over a period of perhaps two decades, produce a significant change in levels of social trust.
    Keywords: income inequality; social trust; social cohesion; composition effect; World Values Survey
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2011–09
  2. By: David A Savage (QUT); Benno Torgler (QUT)
    Abstract: Analysing emotional states under duress or during heightened, life-and-death situations is extremely difficult, especially given the inability of laboratory experiments to adequately replicate the environment and the inherent biases of post event surveys. It is in this area that natural experiments come to the fore by combining the randomization that comes from natural data with an experimentally realistic event. The pager communications from September 11th, made publicly available by Wiki Leaks (Wiki Leaks, 2009), provide exactly the kind of natural experiment emotion researchers have been seeking. We have analysed the pager messages by applying an absolute count methodology and by presenting both positive and negative emotive categories as well as the development of pro-social and religious sentiment. Providing behavioural evidence on how people communicate under extreme circumstances and offers valuable insights into human nature. We demonstrate that positive and pro-social communications are the first to emerge followed by the slower and lower negative communications. Religious sentiment is the last to emerge, as individual attempt to make sense of event.
    Keywords: Content Analysis, Positive Emotion, Negative Emotion, Religiosity, Disaster Communications, 9/11
    JEL: D70 D64 Z12 N30 Z10
    Date: 2011–10–06
  3. By: Bosbach, Moritz; Maietta, Ornella Wanda
    Abstract: Consumers in developed countries are increasingly interested in the consumption of food products incorporating ethical aspects, particularly fair trade products. These products are usually distributed in a network of World Shops and, more recently, in supermarkets and shopping centres. The fair trade product with the highest market share is coffee. This study aims to ascertain the implicit price paid by Italian consumers for the fair trade content of coffee and how this implicit price is influenced by the level of social capital of the territory where consumers live. The data utilised are scanner data, based on the purchase at supermarkets and shopping centres observed from 2005 to 2007, referred to a territorial unit that is the province. Since scanner data are used, the analysis can allow for the coffee attributes described by the labels: branded, organic, decaffeinated, fair trade, espresso, and so on. The approach followed is the application of an hedonic regression where the dependant variable is the coffee price while the regressors are coffee characteristics (fair trade content and coffee other attributes) and several indicators of provincial social capital, alternatively included.
    Keywords: hedonic price, coffee, fair trade, scaner data, Italian consumers, Consumer/Household Economics, Demand and Price Analysis, C50, D12, L66, Z13,
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Murray, Catherine
    Abstract: Regional Councils are primarily responsible for environmental management, as specified in the Resource Management Act (RMA), 1991. The Local Government Act 2002 has an integrative component, requiring consideration of social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their communities. These two Acts are interesting, as their combination is shaping new governance structures within New Zealand. Different types of policy instruments are available to Regional Councils while carrying out their functions: regulatory, economic and voluntary. The 1990s are characterized by âfirst generation Plansâ of the RMA, which were highly rule focused. In the 2000s a marked shift occurred, mainstreaming âcommunityâ and participative approaches to policy. This increased levels of trust between communities and the Regional Councils, and can be seen as building blocks in the formation of social capital. Where rules were not achieving particular policy objectives, interesting new hybrid forms of governance emerged. This paper looks at these newly-formed partnership approaches in New Zealand. The paper traces the emergence of partnerships as a collective form of action, and analyses them from an economic governance perspective. In so doing, the fundamental role of social capital is explained, as a rational economic concept. Regional Councils are centrally placed to anchor partnerships and strengthen their formation, hence strengthening social networks within the regions. The issue of riparian management is explored as a case study to inform how this could occur.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Institutional and Behavioral Economics,
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Devitiis, Biagia De; Luca, Anna I. De; Maietta, Ornella Wanda
    Abstract: Objective of this paper is to analyse the presence of gender differences in the purchase motivations of Fair Trade (FT) food products sold in the Italian World Shops (WS). At this end, a questionnaire has been distributed to a sample of consumers in four Italian regions. A bivariate ordered probit analysis has been performed in order to identify the determinants of the two main ethical motivations in the purchase: worker guarantees and solidarity. The variables used as determinants are individual and municipal characteristics. Among individual characteristics, gender is significant; among the municipal characteristics, the rate of female job market participation is also significant. These results give evidence of a gender gap in the preferences for public goods.
    Keywords: ethical consumerism, gender preferences, fair trade, Consumer/Household Economics, Labor and Human Capital, D12, I31, L31, Z13,
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Marco Tonello (Catholic University Milan & University of Milan-Bicocca)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on mechanisms of “peer interactions” among native and non-native students. We present a theoretical framework based on Lazear (2001) education production model and on the “sub-cultural” sociological theory and we test the theoretical predictions exploiting a dataset of Italian junior high school. Results show that non-native school share has small and negative impacts on Language test scores of natives’ peers, while it does not significantly affect Math test scores. The negative effects to natives’ attainment are concentrated in schools characterized by low levels of non-natives’ isolation or where non-natives’ school share is above 10%.
    Keywords: Peer effects, native and non-native students, social interactions
    JEL: J15 I21 I28
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Anderson, Cameron; Kraus, Michael W.; Keltner, Dacher
    Abstract: Dozens of studies in different nations reveal that socioeconomic status only weakly predicts an individual’s subjective well-being (SWB). These effects suggest that although the pursuit of social status is a fundamental human motivation, achieving high status has little impact on one’s SWB. However, we propose that sociometric status – the respect and admiration one has in face-to-face groups (e.g., one’s friendship group or workplace) – has a stronger effect on SWB than does socioeconomic status. Using correlational, experimental, and longitudinal methodologies, four studies found consistent evidence for a “Local Ladder Effectâ€: sociometric status significantly predicted satisfaction with life and the experience of positive and negative emotions. Longitudinally, as sociometric status rises or falls, SWB rises or falls accordingly. Furthermore, these effects were driven by feelings of power and social acceptance. Overall, individuals’ sociometric status – their respect and admiration in local, face-to-face groups –matters more than their socioeconomic status for SWB.
    Keywords: Organizational Behavior and Theory
    Date: 2011–10–05
  8. By: Massimo Riccaboni; Anna Romiti; Gianna Giudicati
    Abstract: Experience and socialization are key factors in determining customer commitment and renewal decisions in the service sector. To analyse the combined effect of experience and socialization, in this paper we introduce the concept of co-experience networks. A new methodological approach, originally applied in the field of social ethology, is devised to study reality-mined co-experience networks. By analysing a network of health club members over four years, we find that long-experienced clients have a lower chance to renew their contracts. On the other hand, central members in the co-experience network are stable and tend to renew their memberships. Further, since the members of the same reference group align their levels of commitment, renewal decisions are clustered in a small-world network. These findings contribute to our understanding of social dynamics and localized conformity in customer decision-making that can be used to plan marketing strategies to improve customer retention.
    Date: 2011–01
  9. By: Szabo, Gabor G.; Baranyai, Zsolt; Takacs, Istvan
    Abstract: This paper examines the relations of trust in agricultural cooperation from two aspects. On the one hand, it gives a short review of relevant literature, with special regard to agri-food economy. On the other hand, it uses the results of empirical survey for the analysis of trust in machinery sharing arrangements of Hungarian agricultural producers. In connection with this, the trust is examined in two dimensions: contractual and competence trust. Our results prove that there is a positive correlation between the level of trust and the farmersâ activity in cooperative agreements. It could also be proved that the trust need is very different in the different fields of cooperation. It is a tendency that the contractual trust is more important in more intensive, higher-dependence cooperation activities, while competence trust becomes into the foreground in the more extensive solutions.
    Keywords: Agribusiness,
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Asen Ivanov (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business); Douglas D. Davis (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business); Korenok Oleg (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)
    Abstract: We introduce a novel approach for organizing behavior and explaining cooperation in repeated games. Our approach is based on the idea that players differ according to an inherent propensity to cooperate that systematically affects behavior and cooperation levels. We formulate the empirical implications of this idea and test them in the lab. Our data support our approach. Our main conclusions are: (i) players’ strategies in a repeated game can be ranked along a single dimension, (ii) this ranking remains stable across repeated games, and (iii) the composition of a group, in terms of its players’ propensities, strongly affects cooperation levels.
    Keywords: repeated games, cooperation, experiment
    JEL: D74 C92
    Date: 2011–05
  11. By: Lombardini, Chiara; Lankoski, Leena
    Abstract: This paper proposes a novel economic-psychological model of individual food consumption and food waste that recognizes individuals as social and moral beings who are boundedly rational and have limited capacity for self-control. The model identifies five components of individualsâ utility that correspond to five modes of being or selves: the hedonic agent, the social agent, the moral agent, the health-conscious agent and the habits-driven agent. In the model, individuals maximize this composite utility given their budget and effort constraints. We apply the model to analyze policies that can support the adoption of sustainable food consumption practices.
    Keywords: bounded rationality, bounded self-control, habits, identity, social and moral norms, sustainable food consumption, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, D03, D11, D12,
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Besedes, Tibor; Deck, Cary; Quintanar, Sarah; Sarangi, Sudipta; Shor, Mikhael
    Abstract: Individuals bring effort to a group to achieve a common objective. Group membership introduces a free riding incentive, reducing effort, as well as a social responsibility incentive, increasing effort. This paper shows that the free riding effect is stronger. Individuals significantly reduce their effort as the difficulty of the task increases when they cannot collaborate in the group. Once collaboration is allowed, the negative effects of free riding are not observed. Collaborating groups outperform both groups without collaboration and individuals. They do as well as the best constituent member would have done on her own, thus aggregating existing knowledge.
    Keywords: group behavior; decision making; free-riding; experiments
    JEL: D71 C92 Z13
    Date: 2011–08–10
  13. By: Kaplan, Todd (Department of Economics, University of Haifa); Ruffle, Bradley (Department of Economics, Ben-Gurion University)
    Abstract: We introduce a two-player, binary-choice game in which both players have a privately known incentive to enter, yet the combined surplus is highest if only one enters. Repetition of this game admits two distinct ways to cooperate: turn taking and cutoffs, which rely on the player's private value to entry. A series of experiments highlights the role of private information in determining which mode players adopt. If an individual's entry values vary little (e.g., mundane tasks), taking turns is likely; if these potential values are diverse (e.g., difficult tasks that differentiate individuals by skill or preferences), cutoff cooperation emerges.
    JEL: C90 Z13
    Date: 2011–10–04
  14. By: Francesca Modena (University of Trento and Euricse); Concetta Rondinelli (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: This paper provides an explanation for the postponement of youth emancipation in the Italian context mainly characterized by a sharp increase in both house and rent prices together with stagnant disposable income over the past decade. We first assemble a unique database related to the housing and rental market which is then matched with household characteristics. We find that the probability of leaving home decreases by about half percentage point and one percentage point for males and females, respectively, for a one-standard-deviation change in house prices. Together with property prices, local labour markets play a prominent role in determining decisions by unemployed youths to postpone the transition. The youngest cohort was mainly affected by the real estate market evolution that occurred in the last decade.
    Keywords: coresidence, moving out, real estate market, discrete time duration model.
    JEL: C41 D1 J12 R2
    Date: 2011–09

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