nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2011‒12‒19
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Democratization and Civic Capital in Italy By Luigi Guiso; Paolo Pinotti
  2. Heterodox Critiques of Corporate Social Responsibility By Jo, Tae-Hee
  3. Making sense of institutional change in China: The cultural dimension of economic growth and modernization By Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
  4. Exchanging information through social links: The role of friendship, trust and reciprocity By Villanueva-Felez, Africa; Molas-Gallart, Jordi
  5. See No Evil: Information Chains and Reciprocity in Teams By Roi Zultan; Eva-Maria Steiger
  6. Self-Commitment-Institutions and Cooperation in Overlapping Generations Games By Francesco Lancia; Alessia Russo
  7. Measuring Personal Networks And Their Relationship With Scientific Production By Villanueva-Felez, Africa; Molas-Gallart, Jordi; Escribá Esteve, Alejandro
  8. Work Values in Western and Eastern Europe By Benno Torgler
  9. Which Way to Cooperate By Todd R. Kaplan; Bradley J. Ruffle Author-X-Name-Bradley J.
  10. Truth, trust, and sanctions: On institutional selection in sender-receiver games By Ronald Peeters; Marc Vorsatz; Markus Walzl
  11. Policy-Induced Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions By Matteo Bobba; Jeremie Gignoux

  1. By: Luigi Guiso (European University Institute,Florence, EIEF, & CEPR); Paolo Pinotti (Università Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi", Milan & DONDENA)
    Abstract: We document a sharp reversal in electoral participation between the North and the South of Italy after the 1912 enfranchisement which extended voting rights from a limited élite to (almost) all adult males. When voting was restricted to the élite, electoral turnout was higher in the South but falls significantly below that in the North after the enfranchisement. Furthermore the new gap is never bridged over the following century and participation remains lower in the South despite the enrichment of democratic institutions and further extension of voting rights to the female population during the post war democratic republic. This pattern in the data is consistent with a simple model where individuals’ voting in political elections is affected by private benefits and by civic duty, only elites can grab private benefits from participation in politics and civic culture differs across communities. We also find that extension of voting rights to non-elites results in a significant transfer of power to their political organizations only among populations with a high sense of civic duties. Together with the very persistent gap in participation between North and South our findings suggest that democratization – a process of concession of democratic rights – can benefit non-elites only when the latter have already a high sense of civic capital and is unlikely to be a viable avenue for inducing norms of civic behavior.
    Keywords: democracy, culture, civic capital, institutions formation, voting
    JEL: A1 E0 N4 Z1
    Date: 2011–10
  2. By: Jo, Tae-Hee
    Abstract: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is in vogue in recent times. It has been widely received by socially concerned people in business, academia, and NGOs that CSR would lend support to the improvement in social welfare and the protection of environment. However, the question that whether corporations are socially responsible or corporations should behave responsibly is beside the point from the heterodox economic perspective. The proper question to pose is how corporations manipulate the social by means of CSR. Drawing upon the heterodox theory of the business enterprise along with the social provisioning perspective, I argue that the business corporation has always acted in a socially responsible manner by generating ethical-political-cultural values, norms, and beliefs that legitimize whatever the business corporation does is socially responsible. In this respect, CSR is a market-based means to control the social provisioning process by way of creating an illusionary image of corporations and, thereby, hiding the ruthless acquisitive drive and the exploitation of human beings and nature.
    Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; social provisioning process; the business enterprise; social welfare
    JEL: D21 B50 D60 G30
    Date: 2011–12–12
  3. By: Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
    Abstract: Building on a new model of institutions proposed by Aoki and the systemic approach to economic civilizations outlined by Kuran, this paper attempts an analysis of the cultural foundations of recent Chinese economic development. I argue that the cultural impact needs to be conceived as a creative process that involves linguistic entities and other public social items in order to provide integrative meaning to economic interactions and identities to different agents involved. I focus on three phenomena that stand at the center of economic culture in China, networks, localism and modernism. I eschew the standard dualism of individualism vs. collectivism in favour of a more detailed view on the self in social relationships. The Chinese pattern of social relations, guanxi, is also a constituent of localism, i.e. a peculiar arrangement and resulting dynamics of central-local interactions in governing the economy. Localism is balanced by culturalist controls of the center, which in contemporary China builds on the worldview of modernism. Thus, economic modernization is a cultural phenomenon on its own sake. I summarize these interactions in a process analysis based on Aoki's framework. --
    Keywords: Aoki,culture and the economy,emics/etics,guanxi,relational collectivism,central/local government relations,culturalism,population quality,consumerism
    JEL: B52 P2 Z1
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Villanueva-Felez, Africa; Molas-Gallart, Jordi
    Abstract: This paper shows that the features that characterize the exchange of information among individuals vary depending on the type of information exchanged (novel or specific) and the institutional affiliation of the individuals involved. It unbundles the concept of strong and weak links into three main tie characteristics: trust, friendship and reciprocity. Using data from a survey of nanotechnology researchers, we identify the characteristics of 594 links between researchers and individuals from different institutional groups (firms, governmental organizations and universities). Findings suggest behavioral regularities that are contingent on the kind of information being exchanged and the contact?s institutional membership. For, instance, when university researchers exchange novel information between themselves, the level of trust becomes essential, but exchanges with individuals from other institutional settings (firms and governmental organizations) will be characterized instead by reciprocity and friendship. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on the relational perspective of social networks and university-society relationships.
    Keywords: Knowledge transfer; tie strength; institutional affiliation; nanotechnology
    JEL: L14 O17 O31 O32
    Date: 2011–12–14
  5. By: Roi Zultan (Department of Economics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel); Eva-Maria Steiger
    Abstract: Transparency in teams can facilitate cooperation. We study contribution decisions by agents when previous decisions can be observed. We find that an information chain, in which each agent directly observes only the decision of her immediate predecessor, is at least as effective as a fully-transparent protocol in inducing cooperation under increasing returns to scale. In a comparable social dilemma, the information chain leads to high cooperation both in early movers when compared to a non-transparent protocol and in late movers when compared to a fully-transparent protocol. we conclude that information chains facilitate cooperation by balancing positive and negative reciprocity.
    Keywords: team production, public goods, incentives, externality, information, transparency, conditional cooperation
    JEL: C72 C92 D21 J31 M52
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Francesco Lancia; Alessia Russo
    Abstract: This paper focuses on a two-period OLG economy with public imperfect observability over the intergenerational cooperative dimension. Individual endowment is at free disposal and perfectly observable. In this environment we study how a new mechanism, we call Self-Commitment-Institution (SCI), outperforms personal and community enforcement in achieving higher ex-ante e¢ ciency. Social norms with and without SCI are characterized. If social norms with SCI are implemented, agents might freely dispose of their endowment. As long as they reduce their marginal gain from deviation in terms of current utility, they also credibly self-commit on intergenerational cooperation. Under quite general conditions we .nd that, even if individual strategies are still characterized by behavioral uncertainty, the introduction of SCI relaxes the inclination toward opportunistic behavior and sustains higher e¢ ciency compared to social norms without SCI. We quantify the value of SCI and investigate the role of memory with di¤erent social norms. Finally, applications on intergenerational public good games and transfer games with productive SCI are provided
    Keywords: Cooperation; Free disposal; Imperfect public monitoring; Memory; Overlapping generation game; Self-Commitment Institution;
    JEL: C70 D70 H40
    Date: 2011–11
  7. By: Villanueva-Felez, Africa; Molas-Gallart, Jordi; Escribá Esteve, Alejandro
    Abstract: The analysis of social networks has remained a crucial and yet understudied aspect of the efforts to measure Triple Helix linkages. The Triple Helix model aims to explain, among other aspects of knowledge-based societies, ?the current research system in its social context? (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000:109). This paper develops a novel approach to study the research system from the perspective of the individual, through the analysis of the relationships among researchers, and between them and other social factors. We develop a new set of techniques and show how they can be applied to the study of a specific case (a group of academics within a university department). We analyse their informal social networks and show how a relationship exists between the characteristics of an individual?s network of social links and his or her research output.
    Keywords: embeddedness; academic network; research output
    JEL: L14 O17 O31 O32
    Date: 2011–12–14
  8. By: Benno Torgler
    Abstract: The paper reports on work values in Europe. At the country level we find that job satisfaction is related to lower working hours, higher well-being, and a higher GDP per capita. Moving to the micro level, we turn our attention from job satisfaction to analyse empirically work centrality and work value dimensions (without exploring empirically job satisfaction) related to intrinsic and extrinsic values, power and social elements. The results indicate substantial differences between Eastern and Western Europe. Socio-demographic factors, education, income, religiosity and religious denomination are significant influences. We find additional differences between Eastern and Western Europe regarding work-leisure and work-family centrality that could be driven by institutional conditions. Furthermore, hierarchical cluster analyses report further levels of dissimilarity among European countries.
    Keywords: work values; job satisfaction; work-leisure relationship; work-family centrality; Eastern Europe; Western Europe
    JEL: P20 D10 J28 J17 J22
    Date: 2011–12
  9. By: Todd R. Kaplan (Department of Economics, University of Haifa, Israel.); Bradley J. Ruffle Author-X-Name-Bradley J. (Department of Economics, Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel.)
    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. By: Ronald Peeters; Marc Vorsatz; Markus Walzl
    Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment to investigate the impact of institutions and institutional choice on truth-telling and trust in sender-receiver games. We find that in an institution with sanctioning opportunities, receivers sanction predominantly after having trusted lies. Individuals who sanction are responsible for truth-telling beyond standard equilibrium predictions and are more likely to choose the sanctioning institution. Sanctioning and non-sanctioning institutions coexist if their choice is endogenous and the former shows a higher level of truth-telling but lower material payoffs. It is shown that our experimental findings are consistent with the equilibrium analysis of a logit agent quantal response equilibrium with two distinct groups of individuals: one consisting of subjects who perceive non-monetary lying costs as senders and non-monetary costs when being lied to as receivers and one consisting of payoff maximizers.
    Keywords: Experiment, Sender-receiver games, Strategic information transmission, Institutional selection
    JEL: C91 C92
    Date: 2011–12
  11. By: Matteo Bobba; Jeremie Gignoux
    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 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 house- holds. This suggests that the intervention has enhanced educational aspirations by triggering social interactions among the targeted population.
    JEL: C9 I2 J2 O2
    Date: 2011–12

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