nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒01‒18
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Hey Look at Me: The Effect of Giving Circles on Giving By Dean Karlan; Margaret A. McConnell
  2. The Interplay of Human and Social Capital in Shaping Entrepreneurial Performance: The Case of Vietnam By E. Santarelli; H. T. Tran
  3. Why Do Environmental Taxes Work Better in Developed Countries? By Coria, Jessica; Villegas-Palacio, Clara; Cárdenas, J.C.
  4. Restoring Damaged Trust with Promises, Atonement and Apology. By Eric Schniter; Roman M. Sheremeta; Daniel Sznycer
  5. From vice to virtue? Civil war and social capital in Uganda By Giacomo De Luca; Marijke Verpoorten;
  6. On Modelling the Social Interaction of Couples By Sarah Brown; Jolian McHardy; Karl Taylor
  7. How does the social distance between an employee and a manager affect employee competition for a reward? By Glenn Dutcher
  8. Social interactions and spillovers. By Cabrales, Antonio; Calvo-Armengol, Antoni; Zenou, Yves
  9. Moral Cleansing and Moral Licenses: experimental evidence By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Marisa Bucheli; María Paz Espinosa; Teresa García-Muñoz
  10. Religious Pluralism, Religious Market Shares and the Demand for Religious Schooling By Danny Cohen-Zada

  1. By: Dean Karlan; Margaret A. McConnell
    Abstract: Theories abound for why individuals give to charity. We conduct a field experiment with donors to a Yale University service club to test the impact of a promise of public recognition on giving. Some may claim that they respond to an offer of public recognition not to improve their social standing, but rather to motivate others to give. To tease apart these two theories, we conduct a laboratory experiment with undergraduates, and find no evidence to support the alternative, altruistic motivation. We conclude that charitable gifts increase in response to the promise of public recognition primarily because of individuals' desire to improve their social image.
    JEL: H0 J01
    Date: 2012–01
  2. By: E. Santarelli; H. T. Tran
    Abstract: This study investigates the effects of human capital, social capital and their interaction on the performance of 1,398 Vietnamese new-born firms. Operating profit is used as the measure of success. Human capital is captured by individual-level professional education, start-up experience, and learning. Whereas the first two dimensions of human capital are measured with traditional indicators, we define learning as ability to accumulate knowledge to conduct innovation activities (new product introduction, product innovation and process innovation). Social capital is measured as benefits obtained from personal strong-tie and weak-tie networks. Key findings are three-fold: (i) human capital strongly predicts firm success, with learning exerting a statistically significant positive impact on operating profit; (ii) benefits from weak ties outweigh those from strong ties; (iii) interaction of human capital and social capital displays a statistically significant positive effect on new-firm performance.
    JEL: L26 L25 L14 J24 O53
    Date: 2012–01
  3. By: Coria, Jessica (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Villegas-Palacio, Clara (Facultad de Minas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Sede Medellin); Cárdenas, J.C. (Dept of Economics, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia)
    Abstract: We compare of the performance of emission taxes between Colombia and Sweden in an experimental setting where subjects are regulated through environmental taxes and had to decide on emission levels, compliance behavior, and adoption of an environmentally friendly technology. Our design allows us to analyze the role of variations in the stringency of the policy enforcement by regulatory agencies in two different cultural contexts. In line with previous literature that emphasizes the role of social norms and intrinsic motivations explaining compliance behavior, we find that actual emissions and tax underreporting are lower than predicted by traditional models that are solely based on self-interested preferences. However, we find that for an equivalent monitoring stringency, there are no statistically significant differences in emission levels and compliance behavior between Colombian and Swedish subjects. This is to say that despite the positive effect of social norms enhancing compliance, a more stringent enforcement remains as an important mechanism to induce firms to comply with the regulation.<p>
    Keywords: laboratory experiments; emission taxes; imperfect monitoring; technology adoption; developing countries; cross-country comparison; Colombia; Sweden.
    JEL: C91 L51 Q58
    Date: 2012–01–03
  4. By: Eric Schniter (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University); Roman M. Sheremeta (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University); Daniel Sznycer (Center for Evolutionary Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Abstract: In an experiment using two consecutive trust games, we study how “cheap” signals such as promises and messages are used to restore damaged trust and encourage new trust where it did not previously exist. In these games, trustees made non-binding promises of investment-contingent returns, then investors decided whether to invest, and finally trustees decided how much to return. After an unexpected second game was announced, but before it commenced, trustees could send a one-way message. This naturalistic quasi-experimental design allowed us to observe the endogenous emergence of trust-relevant behaviors and focus on naturally occurring remedial strategies used by promise-breakers and distrusted trustees, their effects on investors, and subsequent outcomes. In the first game 16.6% of trustees were distrusted and 18.8% of trusted trustees broke promises. Trustees distrusted in the first game used promises closer to equal splits and messaging to encourage trust in the second game. To restore damaged trust, promise-breakers used larger new promises (signals of intended atonement) and messaging (usually with apology). On average, investments in each game paid off for investors and trustees, suggesting that cheap signals foster profitable trust-based exchanges in these economic games.
    Keywords: promise, atonement, apology, cheap talk, cheap signals, remedial strategies, trust game, reciprocity, experiments
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Giacomo De Luca; Marijke Verpoorten;
    Abstract: We show that armed conflict affects social capital as measured by trust and associational membership. Using the case of Uganda and two rounds of nationally representative individual-level data bracketing a large number of battle events, we find that self-reported generalized trust and associational membership decreased during the conflict in districts in which battle events took place. Exploiting the different timing of two distinct waves of violence, we provide suggestive evidence for a rapid recovery of social capital. Evidence from a variety of identification strategies, including difference-in-difference and instrumental variavle estimates, suggest that these relationships are causal.
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Sarah Brown; Jolian McHardy; Karl Taylor (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: In this paper we contribute to the existing microeconomic literature on social interaction, which has generally focused on social interaction from an individual’s perspective. Given that decisions regarding social interaction are often made within the context of a couple or family, we explore the potential interdependence between the social interaction of husbands and wives from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. We develop a theoretical framework based on an extension of Becker (1974) to include factors which characterise aspects of a couple’s decision-making in relation to social interaction and show that these factors support a tendency towards a positive correlation between the husband’s and wife’s levels of social interaction. Indeed, our empirical findings suggest such a positive association between the social interaction of husbands and wives as measured by active club membership and the frequency of the social interaction activities. In addition, we find that this positive association is particularly pronounced across the same types of club membership or social activities.
    Keywords: Couples; Panel Data; Social Interaction
    JEL: D12 D14
    Date: 2012–01
  7. By: Glenn Dutcher
    Abstract: This study examines how employees internalize differences in social distance between themselves and their managers when they are competing for a reward given by the manager. In an employer/employee relationship, this difference in social distance between the employer and the various employees leads to a disadvantageous situation for the socially distant workers when raises, promotions, special considerations etc. are given. Since social distance is present in most organizations, understanding how employees work effort changes in response to changes in social distance is of upmost importance. In prior literature, this disadvantage has always been assumed/shown to lead to lower effort than the advantaged worker. The results partially back up this claim and show that females who are socially distant from their manager contribute much less than females who are socially closer or males regardless of the social distance.
    Keywords: Experiment, Social distance
    JEL: C91 C92
    Date: 2011–12
  8. By: Cabrales, Antonio; Calvo-Armengol, Antoni; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide a tractable model where both socialization (or network formation) and productive efforts can be analyzed simultaneously. This permits a fullfledged equilibrium/welfare analysis of network formation with endogenous productive efforts and heterogeneous agents. We show that there exist two stable interior equilibria, which we can Pareto rank. The socially efficient outcome lies between these two equilibria. When the intrinsic returns to production and socialization increase, all equilibrium actions decrease at the Pareto-superior equilibrium, while they increase at the Pareto-inferior equilibrium. In both cases, the percentage change in socialization effort is higher (in absolute value) than that of the productive effort
    Keywords: Peer effects; Network formation; Welfare;
    JEL: L22 L51 O31 O38
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Universidad de Granada, Spain); Marisa Bucheli (Universidad de la República, Uruguay); María Paz Espinosa (Universidad del País Vasco, BRIDGE, Spain); Teresa García-Muñoz (Universidad de Granada, Spain)
    Abstract: Research on moral cleansing and moral self-licensing has introduced dynamic considerations in the theory of moral behavior. Past bad actions trigger negative feelings that make people more likely to engage in future moral behavior to offset them. Symmetrically, past good deeds favor a positive self-perception that creates licensing effects, leading people to engage in behavior that is less likely to be moral. In short, a deviation from a “normal state of being” is balanced with a subsequent action that compensates the prior behavior. We model the decision of an individual trying to reach the optimal level of moral self-worth over time and show that under certain conditions the optimal sequence of actions follows a regular pattern which combines good and bad actions. We conduct an economic experiment where subjects play a sequence of giving decisions (dictator games) to explore this phenomenon. We find that donation in the previous period affects present decisions and the sign is negative: participants’ behavior in every round is negatively correlated to what they did in the past. Hence donations over time seem to be the result of a regular pattern of self-regulation: moral licensing (being selfish after altruist) and cleansing (altruistic after selfish).
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Danny Cohen-Zada (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel Author-Name - Todd Elder Author-Name - First: Todd; Michigan State University, USA)
    Abstract: We develop a model of school choice in which the demand for religious schooling is driven partly by the desire of parents to limit their children’s exposure to the influences of competing religions. This framework links the literature on the effects of religious market shares on the within-denomination intensity of religious activity with a separate literature relating religious pluralism to the overall level of religious participation. The model predicts that when a religious group’s share of the local population grows, the fraction of that group’s members whose children attend religious schools decreases. In addition, it implies that the overall demand for religious schooling is a positive function of both the local religiosity level and the level of religious pluralism, as measured by a Herfindahl Index. Using both U.S. county-level data and individual data from ECLS-K and NELS:88, we find evidence strongly consistent with the model’s predictions. Our findings also illustrate that failing to control for the local religiosity level in estimating the effect of religious pluralism on religious participation, as is common in previous studies, may lead a researcher to erroneously conclude that pluralism has a negative effect on participation.
    Keywords: Religious participation, school choice, religious pluralism
    JEL: I21 Z12
    Date: 2012

This nep-soc issue is ©2012 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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