nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒10‒22
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Bowling alone but tweeting together: the evolution of human interaction in the social networking era By Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
  2. The contextual effects of social capital on health: a cross-national instrumental variable analysis By Daniel Kim; Christopher F Baum; Michael Ganz; S.V. Subramanian; Ichiro Kawachi
  3. The role of reciprocation in social network formation, with an application to blogging By Gaudeul, Alexia; Giannetti, Caterina
  4. Teaching Practices and Social Capital By Yann Algan; Pierre Cahuc; Andrei Shleifer
  5. Social Interactions and Long-Term Fertility Dynamics.A Simulation Experiment in the Context of the French Fertility Decline By Sandra González-Bailón; Tommy E. Murphy
  6. Household waste recycling: National survey evidence from Italy By Damiano Fiorillo
  7. Does corruption affect suicide? Empirical evidence from OECD countries By Yamamura, Eiji; Andrés , Antonio; Katsaiti , Marina
  8. Reciprocity and Workers' Tastes for Representation By Uwe Jirjahn; Vanessa Lange
  9. Punishment, reward, and cooperation in a framed field experiment By Noussair, Charles; van Soest, Daan; Stoop, Jan
  10. Private Provision of Public Goods and Information Diffusion in Social Groups By Scharf, Kimberley Ann
  11. Immoral criminals? An experimental study of social preferences among prisoners. By Birkeland, Sigbjørn; Cappelen, Alexander W.; Sørensen, Erik Ø.; Tungodden, Bertil
  12. Rethinking connectivity as interactivity: a case study of Pakistan By Haque, Nadeem; Pirzada, Ahmed; Ahmed, Vaqar
  13. Past dominations, current institutions and Italian regional economic performance By Adriana Di Liberto; M. Sideri

  1. By: Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to theoretically analyze how human interaction may evolve in a world characterized by the explosion of online networking and other Web-mediated ways of building and nurturing relationships. The analysis shows that online networking yields a storage mechanism through which any individual contribution - e.g. a blog post, a comment, or a photo - is stored within a particular network and ready for virtual access by each member who connects to the network. When someone provides feedback, for example by commenting on a note, or by replying to a message, the interaction is finalized. These interactions are asynchronous, i.e. they allow individuals to relate in different moments, whenever they have time to. When the social environment is poor of participation opportunities and/or the pressure on time increases (for example due to the need to increase the working time), the stock of information and ties stored in the Internet can help individuals to defend their sociability.
    Keywords: Internet; computer-mediated communication; online networking; Facebook; social networks; social capital
    JEL: O33 D83 Z13 D85
    Date: 2011–10–21
  2. By: Daniel Kim (RAND Corporation); Christopher F Baum (Boston College; DIW Berlin); Michael Ganz (Outcomes Research, Abt Bio-Pharma Solutions, Inc.); S.V. Subramanian (Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health); Ichiro Kawachi (Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health)
    Abstract: Past observational studies of the associations of area-level/contextual social capital with health have revealed conflicting findings. However, interpreting this rapidly growing literature is difficult because estimates using conventional regression are prone to major sources of bias including residual confounding and reverse causation. Instrumental variable (IV) analysis can reduce such bias. Using data on up to 167,344 adults in 64 nations in the European and World Values Surveys and applying IV and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression, we estimated the contextual effects of country-level social trust on individual self-rated health. We further explored whether these associations varied by gender and individual levels of trust. Using OLS regression, we found higher average country-level trust to be associated with better self-rated health in both women (beta=0.051, 95% confidence interval 0.011 to 0.091, P=0.01) and men (beta=0.038, 0.0002 to 0.077, P=0.049). IV analysis yielded qualitatively similar results, although the estimates were more than double in size (in women, using country population density and corruption as instruments: beta=0.119, 0.028 to 0.209, P=0.005; in men: beta=0.115, 0.025 to 0.204, P=0.01). The estimated health effects of raising the percentage of a country's population that trusts others by 10 percentage points were at least as large as the estimated health effects of an individual developing trust in others. These findings were robust to alternative model specifications and instruments. Conventional regression and to a lesser extent IV analysis suggested that these associations are more salient in women and in women reporting social trust. In a large cross-national study, our findings, including those using instrumental variables, support the presence of beneficial effects of higher country-level trust on self-rated health. Past findings for contextual social capital using traditional regression may have underestimated the true associations. Given the close linkages between self-rated health and all-cause mortality, the public health gains from raising social capital within countries may be large.
    Keywords: social capital, social determinants of health, social environment, epidemiology, causal inference, instrumental variable
    JEL: I18
    Date: 2011–10–10
  3. By: Gaudeul, Alexia; Giannetti, Caterina
    Abstract: This paper deals with the role of reciprocation in the formation of individuals' social networks. We follow the activity of a panel of bloggers over more than a year and investigate the extent to which initiating a relation brings about its reciprocation. We adapt a standard capital investment model to study how reciprocation affects the build-up of the individual social capital of bloggers, as measured by their links and interactions with others. This allows us to measure the role of content production and relationship building in the dynamics of online social networks and to distinguish between the social networking and media aspects of blogging.
    Keywords: Blogs; Friendship; LiveJournal; Reciprocation; Social Capital; Social Networks
    JEL: L82 Z13 C33 D85
    Date: 2011–10–13
  4. By: Yann Algan; Pierre Cahuc; Andrei Shleifer
    Abstract: We use several data sets to consider the effect of teaching practices on student beliefs, as well as on organization of firms and institutions. In cross-country data, we show that teaching practices (such as copying from the board versus working on projects together) are strongly related to various dimensions of social capital, from beliefs in cooperation to institutional outcomes. We then use micro-data to investigate the influence of teaching practices on student beliefs about cooperation both with each other and with teachers, and students’ involvement in civic life. A two-stage least square strategy provides evidence that teaching practices have an independent sizeable effect on student social capital. The relationship between teaching practices and student test performance is nonlinear. The evidence supports the idea that progressive education promotes social capital.
    JEL: I2 Z1
    Date: 2011–10
  5. By: Sandra González-Bailón; Tommy E. Murphy
    Abstract: We build an agent-based simulation model that incorporates both historical data on population characteristics and spatial information on the geography of France to experimentally study the role of social interactions in fertility decisions. We assess how different behavioural and interdependence assumptions cause variations in macro dynamics and diffusion patterns. The analyses show that incorporating social interactions into the model contribute to mimic empirically observed behaviour. Our findings suggest individual-level mechanisms through which the observed demographic transition was materialised. Keywords fertility decline, demographic transition, diffusion, France, simulation experiments, agent-based models, decision-making, social norms, social interactions. JEL classification N33, J13, C15.
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Damiano Fiorillo (-)
    Abstract: The paper analyses the determinants of household recycling in Italy with particular emphasis on social behaviour. The econometric analysis is based on two waves - 1998 and 2000 - of the Multipurpose Household Survey conducted annually by the Italian Central Statistics Office. In Italy household recycling was substantially voluntary in the years from 1998 to 2000 with no monetary incentives or pecuniary sanctions. Five different materials are investigated: paper, glass, plastic, aluminium and food waste. The results of the probit regressions suggest that membership in organizations, church attendance, the habit of talking politics and reading newspapers are significantly correlated with household recycling behaviour, while gender, age and household income playing the biggest role. Our findings also show that the presence of recycling bins for waste improves household recycling behaviour for all materials whereas difficulty to reach recycling bins adversely affects household recycling outcomes. Household judgments on waste disposal charges have no effect on the recycling effort. As expected, residency in Southern Italy is associated with the lowest probability of recycling all materials.
    Keywords: Household recycling, Social behaviour, Social capital, Recycling bins, Flat fee.
    JEL: C35 Q53 Z1
    Date: 2011–10–12
  7. By: Yamamura, Eiji; Andrés , Antonio; Katsaiti , Marina
    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 1995-2004. Our results show that 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 from these findings that corruption has a detrimental effect on societal well-being and its effect differs based on the social position of genders.
    Keywords: Corruption; Panel data; Suicide; Well- Being; OECD
    JEL: D73 H75 I18
    Date: 2011–10–07
  8. By: Uwe Jirjahn; Vanessa Lange
    Abstract: Using unique survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, this study examines the influence of reciprocal inclinations on workers¿ sorting into codetermined firms. Employees with strong negative reciprocal inclinations are more likely to work in firms with a works council while employees with strong positive reciprocal inclinations are less likely to work in such firms. We argue that these findings conform to hypotheses derived from the experimental literature. Moreover, the results show striking gender differences in the relationship between reciprocity and taste for representation. These differences can be partially explained by gender-specific differences in the average degree of labor force attachment.
    Keywords: Works council, negative reciprocity, positive reciprocity, sorting, gender
    JEL: J52 J53 M50
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Noussair, Charles; van Soest, Daan; Stoop, Jan
    Abstract: We report a framed field experiment, in which we study the effectiveness of punishment and reward in sustaining cooperation in a social dilemma. Punishments tend to be directed at non-cooperators and rewards are assigned by those who are relatively cooperative. In contrast to the results typically found in laboratory experiments, however, we find that punishments and rewards fail to increase cooperation.
    Keywords: Field experiment; public goods game; social preferences; punishment; reward
    JEL: C92 C93 C72
    Date: 2011–09–26
  10. By: Scharf, Kimberley Ann
    Abstract: We describe a model of fundraising in social groups, where private information about quality of provision is transmitted by social proximity. Individuals engage in voluntary provision of a pure collective good that is consumed by both neighbors and non-neighbors. We show that, unlike in the case of private goods, better informed individuals face positive incentives to incur a cost to share information with their neighbors. These incentives are stronger, and provision of the pure public good greater, the smaller are individuals’ social neighborhoods.
    Keywords: private provision of public goods; social learning
    JEL: D6 D7 H1 L3
    Date: 2011–10
  11. By: Birkeland, Sigbjørn (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Cappelen, Alexander W. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Sørensen, Erik Ø. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Tungodden, Bertil (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: This paper studies the pro-social preferences of criminals by comparing the behavior of a group of prisoners in a lab experiment with the behavior of a benchmark group recruited from the general population. We find a striking similarity in the importance the two groups attach to pro-social preferences in both in strategic and non-strategic situations. This result also holds when the two groups interact. Data from a large internet experiment,matched with official criminal records, suggest that our main finding from the lab experiment is not influenced by the additional scrutiny experienced by participants in prison.
    Keywords: Pro-social preferences; Criminals; Lab experiment
    JEL: C91 D63 K40
    Date: 2011–09–01
  12. By: Haque, Nadeem; Pirzada, Ahmed; Ahmed, Vaqar
    Abstract: Connectivity in developing countries has traditionally been viewed in terms of investment in transport and communications. This papers makes an effort to go beyond this traditional view and conceptualizes connectivity as networks between people and places. We split the overall national reforms agenda for connectivity into three prongs: a) transportation and related services, b) ICT, and c) social capital. We try to see the state of each of these three in case of Pakistan and then propose reforms keeping in view the current political economy milieu.
    Keywords: Connectivity; Economic Growth; Transport; Communications; Social Capital
    JEL: Z13 D83 F43
    Date: 2011
  13. By: Adriana Di Liberto; M. Sideri
    Abstract: In this paper we study the connection between economic performance and the quality of government institutions for the sample of 103 Italian NUTS3 regions. We include new measures of institutional quality calculated using data on the provision of four areas of public services - health, education, environment and energy. We depart from the vast literature that examines the role of different formal institutions on economic development and investigate if the quality of the same governing institutions matters for productivity. To get through likely endogeneity problems we focus on history to find good instruments. We firstly concentrate on the Spanish period that has been often portrayed by historians as having negatively affected the dominated areas through its legacy of inefficient bureaucracy. Secondly, unlike previous studies that are usually based on specific historical events, we collect data for all different dominations that governed each Italian province over seven centuries before the creation of the unified Italian State. Our results suggest a significant role of past historical institutions on the current public administration efficiency and, most of all, confirm that the latter matters for explaining region’s economic performance, with institutional quality differences explaining more than 20% of the observed differences in productivity levels. Our results are robust to the inclusion of different sets of controls, instruments and the use of different measures of regional economic performance.
    Keywords: economic development; quality of institutions; history
    JEL: O43 O11
    Date: 2011

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