nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒01‒25
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Civic engagement and corruption in 20 European democracies By Grießhaber, Nicolas; Geys, Benny
  2. Strong, Bold, and Kind: Self-Control and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas By Kocher, Martin G.; Martinsson, Peter; Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.; Wollbrant, Conny
  3. Life satisfaction, social capital and the bonding-bridging nexus By Pugno, Maurizio; Verme, Paolo
  4. The Emotional Consequences of Pro-social Behavior in Markets By Toke Fosgaard
  5. Social Preferences in Private Decisions By Jona Linde; Joep Sonnemans
  6. Is culture a determinant of financial development? By Dutta, Nabamita; Mukherjee, Deepraj
  7. The Good of the Few: Reciprocity in the Provision of a Public Bad By Sarah Jacobson; Jason Delaney
  8. Altruism, Cooperation, and Efficiency: Agricultural Production in Polygynous Households By Akresh, Richard; Chen, Joyce J.; Moore, Charity
  9. Time Horizon and Cooperation in Continuous Time By Maria Bigoni; Marco Casari; Andrzej Skrzypaczx; Giancarlo Spagnolo

  1. By: Grießhaber, Nicolas; Geys, Benny
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the relation between different forms of civic engagement and corruption. This first of all extends earlier analysis linking generalized trust to corruption by incorporating another element from the social capital complex (namely formal forms of civic engagement). Second, based on the idea that social networks' beneficial or harmful impact may depend on their characteristics, it investigates how the structure of social networks (i.e., inclusive vs. exclusive and isolated vs. connected) matters. Evaluating the engagement - corruption nexus for a cross-section of 20 European democracies in 2002/2003, we confirm that social networks are linked to corruption even when controlling for the effect of generalized trust, and that their relation to corruption is typespecific. These findings survive under various model specifications and robustness checks. --
    Keywords: Corruption,civil society,networks,voluntary associations,European social survey
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Kocher, Martin G. (Dept of Economics, University of Munich, and CESifo Munich, and Dept of Economics, University of Gothenburg); Martinsson, Peter (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. (ESMT European School of Technology and Management); Wollbrant, Conny (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: We develop a model relating self-control, risk preferences and conflict identification to cooperation patterns in social dilemmas. We subject our model to data from an experimental public goods game and a risk experiment, and we measure conflict identification and self-control. As predicted, we find a robust association between self-control and higher levels of cooperation, and the association is weaker for more risk-averse individuals. Free riders differ from other contributor types only in their tendency not to have identified a self-control conflict in the first place. Our model accounts for the data at least as well as do other models.<p>
    Keywords: self-control; cooperation; public good; risk; experiment
    JEL: C91 D03 H40
    Date: 2012–01–18
  3. By: Pugno, Maurizio; Verme, Paolo
    Abstract: The paper investigates the relation between social capital and life satisfaction focusing on the distinction between bonding and bridging. Using the latest version of the combined World and European Values Surveys, the authors first address the question of measurement of social capital by means of a multi-step factor analysis. Through this procedure, they nd that proxies typically used for social capital tend to polarize around two dimensions interpreted as bonding and bridging. These two dimensions are in fact associated with a single latent variable with opposite signs suggesting that they describe two sides of the same latent variable rather than two independent latent variables. The authors call this latent variable the locus of socializing and use it to explore the relation between social capital and life satisfaction across world citizens and across groups of similar countries. The results indicate that people with extreme bonding or bridging attitudes are less happy than people with more balanced attitudes. Unlike the literature on social capital and economic growth that finds bridging attitudes more desirable than bonding attitudes, they nd that bonding attitudes are at least as important as bridging attitudes for life satisfaction. This suggests that the social capital dimensions important for economic growth may not necessarily coincide with the social capital dimensions important for life satisfaction.
    Keywords: Social Capital,Economic Theory&Research,Social Inclusion&Institutions,Cultural Policy,Labor Policies
    Date: 2012–01–01
  4. By: Toke Fosgaard (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Pro-social behavior made when buying private goods is becoming increasingly popular. Several findings from behavioral and experimental economics however emphasizes that people are less pro-social in such situations, compared to pro-social decisions in non-market contexts. This paper suggests that emotional responses are important explanations of this finding. It is first argued that the emotional response to a pro-social decision combined with private good purchase is different from the response to a similar decision in a non-market situation. Through evidence from a laboratory experiment, it is then found, that deciding on a social choice in a market exchange involves a less positive emotional reaction to others, compared to non-market situations. Moreover, subjects in market contexts are found to be less responsive to other subjects’ contribution behavior, relative to the non-market contexts.
    Keywords: Emotions; market exchange; pro-social behavior
    JEL: C92 H41 M14
    Date: 2011–12
  5. By: Jona Linde (University of Amsterdam, CREED); Joep Sonnemans (University of Amsterdam, CREED)
    Abstract: Social preference models were originally constructed to explain two things: why people spend money to affect the earnings of others and why the income of others influences reported happiness. We test these models in a novel experimental situation where participants face a risky decision that affects only their own earnings. In the social (individual) treatment participants do (not) observe the earnings of others. In the social treatment gambles therefore not only affect absolute but also relative earnings. Outcome-based social preference models therefore predict a treatment difference. We find that decisions are generally the same in both treatments, in line with rule-based social preference models, like procedural fairness.
    Keywords: fairness; social preferences; decision making under risk; experiment
    JEL: C91 D63 D81
    Date: 2012–01–09
  6. By: Dutta, Nabamita; Mukherjee, Deepraj
    Abstract: The paper investigates the missing link in the literature – whether informal institutions, or what is known as culture, can affect the level of financial development for a country? Our hypothesis stresses that the cultural dimensions of a country can have an impact on its financial set up. We consider multiple dimensions of culture, identified in the literature by Tabellini, to test our hypothesis. As culture evolve in the form of greater trust, control and other traits, individuals’ attitudes towards financial market change, and they engage in greater financial transactions. This, in turn, leads to better financial development. Using quantile estimation technique for a cross-section of 90 countries we find that culture significantly influences the level of financial development. To ensure the robustness of our findings we use Hofstede’s cultural dimension-‘uncertainty avoidance index’ as an alternative measure for culture. Our results hold for multiple measures of financial development.
    Keywords: Informal Institutions; Financial Development; Culture; Social capital
    JEL: G1 Z1 O17
    Date: 2011–05–13
  7. By: Sarah Jacobson (Williams College); Jason Delaney (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)
    Abstract: People have been shown to engage in favor-trading when it is efficiency-enhancing to do so. Will they also trade favors when it reduces efficiency, as in a series of wasteful public projects that each benefits an individual? We introduce the “Stakeholder Public Bad” game to study this question. In each round, contributions to a common fund increase the earnings of one person (the “Stakeholder”) but reduce the earnings of the rest of the group so much that overall efficiency is reduced. The Stakeholder position rotates through members of the group and the promise of the high reward associated with this position may enable subjects to behave reciprocally. We hypothesize that some people will help a current Stakeholder by contributing in hopes of being rewarded later with a reciprocal gift. In a lab experiment, we find evidence of such favor trading. We also find that Stakeholders in this situation seem perfectly willing to sacrifice the good of the group to reap their own personal rewards, and this is true even when their contribution decisions are public. While the revelation of information about others’ actions and roles has previously been shown to enable efficiency-increasing reciprocity, we show that it also enables efficiency-decreasing reciprocal acts. Subjects who are more risk-averse behave in a way that is more myopically self-interested as compared to less risk-averse people when information conditions preclude favor trading, and subjects who identify with the Democratic Party show more restraint when they are Stakeholder than those who do not.
    Keywords: logrolling, social preferences, reciprocity, externalities, public bad, public good
    JEL: C91 D01 D62 D64 D72 H41
    Date: 2012–01
  8. By: Akresh, Richard (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Chen, Joyce J. (Ohio State University); Moore, Charity (Ohio State University)
    Abstract: Altruism among family members can, in some cases, inhibit cooperation by increasing the utility that players expect to receive in a non-cooperative equilibrium. To test this, we examine agricultural productivity in polygynous households in West Africa. We find that cooperation is greater – production is more efficient – among co-wives than among husbands and wives because co-wives are less altruistic towards each other. The results are not driven by scale effects or self-selection into polygyny. Nor can they be explained by greater propensity for cooperation among women generally or by the household head acting as an enforcement mechanism for others' cooperative agreements.
    Keywords: altruism, non-cooperative behavior, household bargaining, polygyny, Africa
    JEL: D13 D70 J12 O13 O55
    Date: 2011–12
  9. By: Maria Bigoni (Department of Economics, University of Bologna); Marco Casari (Department of Economics, University of Bologna); Andrzej Skrzypaczx (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University); Giancarlo Spagnolo (SITE, Tor Vergata, EIEF and CEPR)
    Abstract: Frequent interaction may dramatically increase subjects ability to cooperate. In an experiment, we study the impact of different time horizons on cooperation in (quasi) continuous time prisoner's dilemmas. We find that cooperation levels are similar or higher when the horizon is deterministic rather than stochastic. Moreover, a de- terministic duration generates different aggregate patterns and indi- vidual strategies than a stochastic one. For instance, the data reveal a higher initial cooperation and a strong end-of-period reversal to defection under a deterministic horizon. However, they suggest that subjects do not learn to apply backward induction but to postpone defection closer to the end.
    Date: 2011

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