nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒12‒13
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Group outcomes and reciprocity By Ioannou, Christos; Qi, Shi; Rustichini, Aldo
  2. How motivations of SNSs use and offline social trust affect college students' self-disclosure on SNSs: An investigation in China By Weiwei, Zhang; Peiyi, Huang
  3. Communication perspectives on social networking and citizen journalism challenges to traditional newspapers By Katz, James E.
  4. Empirical analysis of internal social media and product innovation: Focusing on SNS and social capital By Idota, Hiroki; Minetaki, Kazunori; Bunno, Teruyuki; Tsuji, Masatsugu
  5. Housing Cooperatives and Social Capital: The Case of Vienna By Richard Lang; Andreas Novy
  6. School ties: An analysis of homophily in an adolescent friendship network By Simon Burgess; Eleanor Sanderson; Marcela Umana-Aponte
  7. Homeownership, Social Capital and Parental Voice in Schooling By Grimes, Arthur; Stillman, Steven; Young, Chris
  8. Diversity and Donations: The Effect of Religious and Ethnic Diversity on Charitable Giving By James Andreoni; Abigail Payne; Justin D. Smith; David Karp
  9. Informal social networks, organised crime and local labour market By Antonella Mennella
  10. Do People Keep Socially Unverifiable Promises? By Cary Deck; Maroš Servátka; Steven Tucker
  11. The Dynamics of Continuous Cultural Traits in Social Networks By Berno Buechel; Tim Hellmann; Michael M. Pichler
  12. Rewarding Altruism? A Natural Field Experiment By Nicola Lacetera; Mario Macis; Robert Slonim
  13. Damaging the perfect image of athletes: How sport promotes envy By Jérémy CELSE
  14. The Effect of Religion on Cooperation and Altruistic Punishment: Experimental Evidence from Public Goods Experiments By Akay, Alpaslan; Karabulut, Gökhan; Martinsson, Peter
  15. How does income inequality affect cooperation and punishment in public good settings? By Sebastian Prediger
  16. Policy-induced Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions By Matteo Bobba; Jérémie Gignoux

  1. By: Ioannou, Christos; Qi, Shi; Rustichini, Aldo
    Abstract: Group membership affects an agent's individual behavior. We determine how, by testing two competing hypotheses. One is that group membership operates through social identity, and the other is that group membership implements a correlation among the actions of in-group members in response to an implicit signal. We introduce two novel features in the experimental design. The first feature is the display of group outcomes. This allows us to assess directly the importance of relative group performance on subjects' decisions. The second is a careful manipulation of the Dictator game and the Trust game. More specifically, we choose parameters strategically so as to ensure no change in the pecuniary incentives across the two games. For a precise quantitative test of the two hypotheses we develop a structural model to describe an agent's behavior across treatments. Our findings suggest that the role of social identity on motivating agents' decisions has been exaggerated. The display of group outcomes induces a group effect, but a careful analysis of this effect reveals that participants use group outcomes as a signal to coordinate in-group members on favorable outcomes. Furthermore, we find evidence in support of recent experimental studies which demonstrate that an agent's allocation choice is sensitive to the behavior of the agent that generated the choice set. <br><br> Keywords; groups, trust game, dictator game, reciprocity
    Date: 2011–04–08
  2. By: Weiwei, Zhang; Peiyi, Huang
    Abstract: Social Networking Sites (SNSs) have been proliferating and growing in popularity worldwide throughout the past few years, which have received significant interest from researchers. Previous literatures on Internet suggest that offline social trust influences online perceptions and behaviors, and there is linkage between trust and self-disclosure in face-to-face context. Adopting the Uses and Gratifications perspective as the theoretical foundation, this exploratory study aimed to address the roles that motivations of SNSs use and offline social trust play in predicting levels of self-disclosure on SNSs. Taking 640 snowballing sampling on, the study found that there was an instrumental orientation of SNSs use among China's college students. Social interaction, self-image building and information seeking were three major motivations when college students use SNSs. As expected, the results also indicated that motivations of SNS use and offline social trust play a more important role in predicting self-disclosure on SNSs than demographics. This exploratory study gives an empirical insight in the influence of motivations of SNSs use and offline social trust on self-disclosure online. --
    Keywords: Social Networking Sites,Motivations,Self-disclosure,Offline Social Trust
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Katz, James E.
    Abstract: Communication perspectives are presented on the challenges posed to traditional newspapers by social media and citizen journalism, with special reference to the United States. This is an important topic given the critical role investigative reporting, long the domain of newspapers, plays in fostering democratic practices. New Media and social networking technology are evaluated in terms of their impact on the newspaper enterprise. Alternative scenarios for future developments are examined as are the implications for social values and the role of an informed citizenry in democratic society. Strategic management issues are analyzed, and the possibility is considered that social media can fulfill much of the democracy-enhancing role served traditionally by newspapers. --
    Keywords: Newspapers,news industry,social media,social networks,democracy,journalism
    JEL: O3 O30 O33
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Idota, Hiroki; Minetaki, Kazunori; Bunno, Teruyuki; Tsuji, Masatsugu
    Abstract: Recently social media such as Blog and SNS has been introducing by many firms for means of sharing information inside the firm, in particular to promote product and process innovation. This paper attempts to examine the relationship between social media and product innovation, and research questions are summarized as follows: (i) whether social capital influences the use of social media; (ii) whether social media promotes product innovation; and (iii) whether the effect of social media on product innovation is different in the manufacturing and service industry. The analysis clarifies that social capital in the firm is indispensable for the effective use of social media. Managerial attitudes toward innovation and social media are requirements for firms to promote product innovation. Managers thus should make an effort to raise social capital and nurture reciprocal culture for SNS use inside the firm. The paper finds that social media for product innovation is more important in the service industry than manufacturing. Social media makes it easy to obtain customers' information and share it among related sections, because social media enables to expand channels to make contact directly with the customer in the service industry. --
    Keywords: Social Media , Product Innovation,Social Capital,Ordered Probit Regression
    JEL: O32 M15
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Richard Lang; Andreas Novy
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Simon Burgess; Eleanor Sanderson; Marcela Umana-Aponte
    Abstract: Homophily is the tendency to establish relationships among people who share similar characteristics or attributes. This study presents evidence of homophilic behaviour for an adolescent friendship network of 6,961 links in the West of England. We control for unobserved characteristics by estimating school and individual fixed effects and present evidence on the role of length and closeness of friendships on the degree of homophily. We also exploit the dynamics of the friendship by comparing similarities among existing and future friends. Results indicate that academic achievement, personality, educational aspirations, bad behaviour and mother’s education are essential in the friendship formation process. However, income and parents’ occupational class proved to be insignificant. We also show that the degree of homophily among friends selected from a random process is much lower than that of the observed friendships.
    Keywords: Networks, Homophily, Segregation, Friendships, Adolescents
    JEL: L14 C33 D83 Z13
    Date: 2011–08
  7. By: Grimes, Arthur (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust); Stillman, Steven (University of Otago); Young, Chris (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust)
    Abstract: We use New Zealand school board of trustees data to examine whether schools where parents have high rates of homeownership experience high parental voting turnout in elections. We also investigate whether homeownership influences the probability that a school board proceeds to election, indicating parental willingness to serve as a school trustee. Similarly, we examine whether state-owned social housing rates affect these outcomes. We compile results initially without controlling for other factors, and then controlling for a wide range of other characteristics, to test the robustness of simple observed associations between homeownership and state-ownership rates and outcome variables. Our findings show no discernible effect of homeownership on parental voting turnout in school elections after controls are added (contrary to the simple positive association), but a (robust) positive impact of both homeownership and state-ownership rates on the probability that a school holds an election.
    Keywords: homeownership, school elections, parental voice, social capital
    JEL: I28 R23 Z13
    Date: 2011–11
  8. By: James Andreoni; Abigail Payne; Justin D. Smith; David Karp
    Abstract: We explore the effects of local ethnic and religious diversity on individual donations to private charities. Using 10-year neighborhood-level panels derived from personal tax records in Canada, we find that diversity has a detrimental effect on charitable donations. A 10 percentage point increase in ethnic diversity reduces donations by 14%, and a 10 percentage point increase in religious diversity reduces donations by 10%. The ethnic diversity effect is driven by a within-group disposition among non-minorities, and is most evident in high income, but low education areas. The religious diversity effect is driven by a within-group disposition among Catholics, and is concentrated in high income and high education areas. Despite these large effects on amount donated, we find no evidence that increasing diversity affects the fraction of households that donate. Over the period studied, ethnic diversity rises by 6 percentage points and religious diversity rises by 4 percentage points; our results suggest that charities receive about 12% less in total donations. As areas like North America continue to grow more diverse over time, our results imply that these demographic changes may have significant implications for the charitable sector.
    JEL: H41 J11 R23
    Date: 2011–11
  9. By: Antonella Mennella
    Abstract: This paper’s purpose is to show a new informal social networks interpretation, according to which social networks change their nature if they are located in social contexts where organised crime is relevant. Here the perusal of a social network is just a necessary condition to enter the labour market rather than a deliberate choice. Moreover this labour market is the ground where favouritisms and social and electoral consensus policies take place
    Keywords: social networks, organised crime, labour market
    JEL: D85 J64 K00
    Date: 2011–03
  10. By: Cary Deck; Maroš Servátka (University of Canterbury); Steven Tucker (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: Previous research has suggested that communication and especially promises increase cooperation in laboratory experiments. This has been taken as evidence for internal motivations such as guilt aversion or preference for promise keeping. The original goal of this paper was to examine promises under a double blind payoff procedure to test the alternative explanation that promise keeping was due to external influence and reputational concerns. We find no evidence that communication increases the overall level of cooperation in our double blind experiment. However, our results are due in part to the high level of cooperation that we observe, leading us to conduct additional single blind conditions. Ultimately, we find no evidence that communication or payoff procedures impact aggregate cooperation.
    Keywords: Anonymity; experiment; promises; partnership; guilt aversion; psychological game theory; trust; lies; social distance; behavioral economics; hidden action
    JEL: C70 C91
    Date: 2011–12–01
  11. By: Berno Buechel (University of Hamburg); Tim Hellmann (Institute of Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University); Michael M. Pichler (Institute of Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Abstract: We consider an OLG model (of a socialization process) where continuous traits are transmitted from an adult generation to the children. A weighted social network describes how children are influenced not only by their parents but also by other role models within the society. Parents can invest into the purposeful socialization of their children by strategically displaying a cultural trait (which need not coincide with their true trait). Based on Nash equilibrium behavior, we study the dynamics of cultural traits throughout generations. We provide conditions on the network structure that are sufficient for long-run convergence to a society with homogeneous subgroups. In the special case of quadratic utility, the condition is that each child is more intensely shaped by its parents than by the social environment. The model is akin to the classical DeGroot model of opinion formation which we generalize by allowing for strategic interaction.
    Keywords: cultural transmission, social networks, preference formation, cultural persistence, opinion dynamics
    Date: 2011–12
  12. By: Nicola Lacetera; Mario Macis; Robert Slonim
    Abstract: We present evidence from a natural field experiment involving nearly 100,000 individuals on the effects of offering economic incentives for blood donations. Subjects who were offered economic rewards to donate blood were more likely to donate, and more so the higher the value of the rewards. They were also more likely to attract others to donate, spatially alter the location of their donations towards the drives offering rewards, and modify their temporal donation schedule leading to a short-term reduction in donations immediately after the reward offer was removed. Although offering economic incentives, combining all of these effects, positively and significantly increased donations, ignoring individuals who took additional actions beyond donating to get others to donate would have led to an under-estimate of the total effect, whereas ignoring the spatial effect would have led to an over-estimate of the total effect. We also find that individuals who received a reward by surprise were less likely to donate after the intervention than subjects who received no reward, suggesting that for some individuals a surprise reward adversely affected their intrinsic motivations. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding pro-social behavior.
    JEL: C93 D01 D03 D64 H41 I12
    Date: 2011–12
  13. By: Jérémy CELSE
    Abstract: We explore the behavioural and affective differences between subjects practicing sport activities and subjects not practicing sport. Are athletes more distressed by unfavourable social comparisons and more prone to engage in hostile behaviour than non-athletes? Using experimental methods, we investigate the connection between sport practice and antisocial behaviour. In our experiment we capture the satisfaction subjects derive from unflattering social comparisons by asking them to evaluate their satisfaction after being informed of their own endowment and after being informed of their opponent’s endowment. Then subjects can decide to reduce their opponent’s endowment by incurring a cost. We observe that sport plays a key role on both individual well-being and behaviour: 1) sport practice amplifies the negative impact of unfavourable social comparisons on individual well-being and 2) sport practice exerts subjects to reduce others’ income. Besides the satisfaction sporty subjects report from social comparisons predicts their decisions to reduce others’ income. Finally we provide empirical evidences suggesting that envy affects significantly athletes’ satisfaction and behaviour.
    Date: 2011–06
  14. By: Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Karabulut, Gökhan (Istanbul University); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This paper experimentally examines how religious festivals and the degree of religiosity affect cooperation and altruistic punishment by using public goods experiments. We conducted the experiments in Turkey at different points in time; one on the most religious day during Ramadan (the Night of Power – Laylat al-Qadr) and the other at a time without any religious festivals other than the normal daily prayers. The overall results show no differences in cooperation or altruistic punishment among individuals during Ramadan, even when the degree of their religiosity varied. However, less religious people did change their cooperative behaviour in response to religious festivals. Most of the differences can, however, be explained by differences in beliefs about others contributions. By and large, this indicates the importance of conditional cooperation.
    Keywords: cooperation, experiment, public goods, punishment, religion
    JEL: C72 C91 H41
    Date: 2011–11
  15. By: Sebastian Prediger (GIGA)
    Abstract: In the frame of decentralization reforms in Namibia, local water point associations evolved that have to collect water fees from community members to cover maintenance costs. Enforcement, however, is weak and water point associations have to rely on moral pleas. As a consequence, several users refuse to pay. I test the impact of informal sanction mechanisms on cooperation among water point users in groups with equal and unequal incomes. Interestingly, and in contrast to the vast majority of related studies, cooperation does not increase under the threat of punishment, though the punishment option was frequently used. At individual level I show that while punishments do not affect cooperative behaviour, they provoke counter-punishment. This suggests that peer-sanctioning mechanisms as a means to enforce norm-compliance are not accepted among water point association members. Contribution levels were higher in heterogeneous groups compared with homogenous ones, and both pro-social and anti-social punishments occurred more frequently in homogenous groups. A comparison between different income types further reveals that the poor contribute larger shares of their income than those endowed with higher incomes and that they use punishment as frequently and as vehemently as the better-off, despite higher opportunity costs.
    Keywords: Income heterogeneity, public goods experiment, peer punishment, anti-social punishment, Namibia
    Date: 2011
  16. By: Matteo Bobba (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - INRA, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Jérémie Gignoux (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - INRA, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: This paper considers a conditional cash transfer program targeting poor households in small rural villages and studies the effects of the geographic proximity between villages on individual enrollment decisions. Exploiting variations in the treatment status across contiguous villages generated by the randomized evaluation design, the paper finds that the additional effect stemming from the local density of neighboring recipients amounts to roughly one third of the direct effect of program receipt. Importantly, these spatial externalities are concentrated among children from beneficiary households. This suggests that the intervention has enhanced educational aspirations by triggering social interactions among the targeted population.
    Keywords: Spatial externalities ; Social interactions ; Peer effects ; Conditional cash transfers
    Date: 2011–11

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