nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒04‒03
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Does Family Composition Affect Social Networking? By Heizler, Odelia; Kimhi, Ayal
  2. Cross-Country Performance in Social Integration of Older Migrants. A European Perspective By Caroline Berchet; Nicolas Sirven
  3. Association membership and generalised trust: Are connections between associations losing their value? By Geys, Benny
  4. Image and Misreporting By Ewers, Mara; Zimmermann, Florian
  5. The Joint Benefits of Observed and Unobserved Punishment: Comment to Unobserved Punishment Supports Cooperation By Andreas Glöckner; Sebastian Kube; Andreas Nicklisch
  6. Social Involvement and Level of Household Income among Immigrants: New Evidence from the Israeli Experience By Arbel, Yuval; Tobol, Yossi; Siniver, Erez
  7. Follow the Leader or Follow Anyone - Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment By Felix Ebeling; Christoph Feldhaus; Johannes Fendrich
  8. Warm-Glow Giving and Freedom to be Selfish By Özgür Evren; Stefania Minardi
  9. Testing a Forgotten Aspect of Akerlof's Gift Exchange Hypothesis: Relational Contracts with Individual and Uniform Wages By Kocher, Martin G.; Luhan, Wolfgang J.; Sutter, Matthias
  10. Cooperation under Fear, Greed and Prison: the Role of Redistributive Inequality in the Evolution of Cooperation By César Andrés Mantilla
  11. The Multi-Dimensional Effects of Reciprocity on Worker Effort: Evidence from a Hybrid Field-Laboratory Labor Market Experiment By Kim, Min-Taec; Slonim, Robert
  12. Does democracy reduce corruption? By Ivar Kolstad; Arne Wiig

  1. By: Heizler, Odelia; Kimhi, Ayal
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of family composition, and in particular the number of children, the age gap between the oldest and youngest child and the age of the youngest child, on parents’ involvement in social networks. The predictions of a simple theoretical model are confirmed by an empirical analysis of Israeli Social Survey data for 2002- 2006. The number of children has a U -shaped effect on parents' involvement in social networks, with substantial differences between fathers and mothers. The negative effect is dominant on the mothers’ involvement in social networks, while the positive effect is dominant on the father's involvement in social networks. The age gap between children has a positive effect on both parents’ involvement in social networks, while the age of the youngest child has a positive effect on the father's involvement in social networks. These results imply that social network considerations might be important for fertility decisions.
    Keywords: Social Networks, Family Composition, Children., Community/Rural/Urban Development,
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Caroline Berchet (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics); Nicolas Sirven (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics)
    Abstract: This paper provides new empirical evidence on the relationship between migration and social integration. It explores the hypothesis that migrants essentially differ from non-migrants with regard to the length of residence in the country – which is a proxy of migrants’ social distance to natives. The determinants of social participation and interpersonal trust are examined at both the individual and institutional level. Using SHARE data and macroeconomic series, we first analyse the influence of immigrant length of stay in the host country on social integration indicators. We then examine the role institutional characteristics play on cross-country differences in speed of social integration (i.e. immigrants’ propensity to social participation according to their length of stay in the host country). As expected, the immigrant population presents a lower likelihood than the native population to get involved in social activities and to trust other people. Nevertheless, the more immigrants have spent time in the host country, the more they take part in social activities. The analysis also reveals significant cross-country differences in immigrants’ speed of social integration. Macroeconomic series like the GINI coefficient of income inequality and the Corruption perceived index could explain these differences. From a public policy perspective, our results suggest that immigrants’ social integration is more rapidly achieved in “fair” countries – i.e. those with a more favourable social environment – where the levels of income inequality and perceived corruption are lower.
    Keywords: Social capital, Ageing, Income inequality, Multilevel models.
    JEL: F22 O52 C31
    Date: 2012–03
  3. By: Geys, Benny
    Abstract: Research linking civic engagement to citizens' democratic values, generalized trust, cooperative norms, and so on often implicitly assumes such connections are stable over time. This article argues that, due to changes in the broader institutional environment, the engagement-values relation is likely to generally lack temporal stability. We investigate this empirically by analysing the engagement-trust relation using World Values Survey (WVS) data from the 1990 and 2000 waves. Overall, our results show that voluntary association memberships remain positively associated with generalised trust in both samples, but evidence that memberships in connected associations are better than in isolated ones appears, at best, scant in more recent years. --
    Keywords: voluntary associations,generalised trust,world values studies,social networks,longitudinal analysis
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Ewers, Mara (University of Bonn); Zimmermann, Florian (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: In this paper we ask if reports of private information about skills, abilities or achievements are affected by image concerns. We develop a simple model that illustrates how image utility can lead to misreporting of private information in contexts where truthful reports maximize monetary outcomes. In addition, we test the model's predictions in a controlled lab experiment. In the experiment, all subjects go through a series of quiz questions and subsequently report a performance measure. We vary if reports are made to an audience or not and find evidence for image effects. In the audience treatment, stated reports are significantly higher than in the private treatment. This suggests that overconfident appearance might be a consequence of social approval seeking. We also find that men state higher self-assessments than women. This gender difference seems to be driven by men responding more strongly to the presence of an audience.
    Keywords: image concerns, self-assessment, overconfidence, experiment
    JEL: C91 D03 D82
    Date: 2012–03
  5. By: Andreas Glöckner (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Sebastian Kube (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Andreas Nicklisch (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: Laboratory experiments by Fudenberg and Pathak (2010), and Vyrastekova, Funaki and Takeuch (2008) show that punishment is able to sustain cooperation in groups even when it is observed only in the end of the interaction sequence. Our results demonstrate that the real power of unobserved punishment is unleashed when combined with observable punishment. Providing both unobserved and observed punishment strongly enhances cooperation within groups – strikingly, even with less intense sanctioning. This surprising result underlines the importance of the coexistence of observed and unobserved sanctioning mechanisms in social dilemmas.
    Keywords: Public Goods, Unobserved Punishment, Sanctioning Effectiveness
    JEL: H41 C92 H40
    Date: 2011–11
  6. By: Arbel, Yuval (School of Business, Carmel Academic Center); Tobol, Yossi (Jerusalem College of Technology (JTC)); Siniver, Erez (College of Management, Rishon Lezion Campus)
    Abstract: Previous studies of immigrant populations suggest that ceteris paribus (after controlling for the number of years in the receiving country and other socio-demographic variables), the level of income is strongly and positively correlated with fluency in the local language. Based on a phone survey held in 2005 among a representative sample of Former Soviet Union (FSU) immigrants, the current study extends this literature and investigates the possibility that the standard model is misspecified. Unlike previous surveys, our dataset includes detailed subjective questions on the degree of social involvement. Our findings indeed support the conclusion that the standard model is misspecified. At 1% significance level, immigrants who are better assimilated within the receiving country are 11% more likely to attain a level of income that is equal to or higher than the average level of net family monthly income. Moreover, compared to the incorrectly-specified model, at 1% significance level a shift from lower to intermediate and high level of language proficiency does not significantly increase the level of income. Consequently, marginal probabilities of income shift, which have been mistakenly attributed to better language proficiency in the misspecified model, should have been, in fact, attributed to a higher level of social involvement. Finally, stratification of the sample based on gender and marital status shows that compared to unmarried females, married males have a higher return on social involvement. Among married men (unmarried women) a higher level of social involvement significantly increases the chances for higher income level by 15% (only 4%). Research findings thus stress the important role of better social involvement, particularly among married males: a higher degree of social involvement leads to improved social networking and, in turn, to better job opportunities and higher income.
    Keywords: social involvement, income level, immigration, gender differences
    JEL: J15 Z13
    Date: 2012–03
  7. By: Felix Ebeling (University of Cologne); Christoph Feldhaus (University of Cologne); Johannes Fendrich (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: In a fundraising field experiment we show that individuals are not only conditionally cooperative, but that they are also more prone to donate to a homeless individual when the previous donor has a higher social status. We trailed a homeless person asking for donations within Cologne's metro trains for two weeks. Thereby we systematically varied the status of the first giver in the train. In the control treatment we did not intervene. In the low status treatment the first giver was always a (poor looking) low status person from our team and correspondingly in the high status treatment a (rich looking) high status person. In our experiment the probability to receive a donation in a train is 65% higher in the low status treatment than in the control treatment. Additionally, in comparison to the low status treatment, the probability increases by 22% in the high status treatment. To our best knowledge this is the first study providing field evidence for the particular influence of high status individuals on others' economic activities.
    Keywords: status, fundraising, field experiment
    JEL: C93 D64 H41
    Date: 2012–03–10
  8. By: Özgür Evren (New Economic School); Stefania Minardi (Department of Economics, New York University)
    Abstract: Warm-glow refers to other-serving behavior that is valuable for the actor per se, apart from its social implications. We provide axiomatic foundations for warm-glow by viewing it as a form of preference for larger choice sets, in the sense of the literature on freedom of choice. Specically, an individual who experiences warm-glow prefers the freedom to be sel…sh: she values the availability of sel…sh options even if she plans to act unsel…shly. Our theory also provides foundations for empirically distinguishing between warm-glow and other motivations for prosocial behavior. The implied choice behavior subsumes Riker and Ordeshook (1968) and Andreoni (1990).
    Keywords: Altruism, Warm-Glow, Freedom of Choice, Philanthropy, Charitable Giving, Public Goods
    JEL: D11 D64 D81
    Date: 2011–12
  9. By: Kocher, Martin G. (University of Munich); Luhan, Wolfgang J. (Ruhr University Bochum); Sutter, Matthias (University of Innsbruck)
    Abstract: Empirical work on Akerlof's theory of gift exchange in labor markets has concentrated on the fair wage-effort hypothesis. In fact, however, the theory also contains a social component that stipulates that homogenous agents that are employed for the same wage level will exert more effort, resulting in higher rents and higher market efficiency, than agents that receive different wages. We present the first test of this component, which we call the fair uniform-wage hypothesis. In our laboratory experiment, we establish the existence of a significant efficiency premium of uniform wages. However, it is not the consequence of a stronger level of reciprocity by agents, but of the retrenchment of sanctioning options on the side of principals with uniform wages. Hence, implementing limitations to contractual freedom can have efficiency-enhancing effects.
    Keywords: gift exchange, multiple agents, uniform contracts, collective wage, experiment
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D21 J31 J50
    Date: 2012–03
  10. By: César Andrés Mantilla
    Abstract: This work offers an analysis of cooperation dilemmas making emphasis in the role of the unequal outcomes. Increases in the benefit from leaving mutual cooperation are associated to the greed dimension, while increases in the cost from leaving mutual defection are associated to fear dimension. The manipulation of these dimensions allows defining two cooperation dilemmas derived from the standard Prisoner’s Dilemma. Using two different frameworks, classical game theory and evolutionary game theory, is shown that the magnitude and the direction of these inequalities have an effect over the decision of cooperation.
    Date: 2012–02–29
  11. By: Kim, Min-Taec (University of Sydney); Slonim, Robert (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: We examine the gift exchange hypothesis on both the quantity and quality of output using a hybrid field-laboratory labor market experiment. We recruited participants to enter survey data for a well-known charitable organization. Workers were paid either a high or low wage. We find that although the total number of surveys entered did not vary with the wage, high wage workers made fewer errors and entered more surveys after controlling for errors. We further find that for low costs associated with errors, offering the low wage maximizes profits, but for higher costs paying the higher "gift exchange" wage maximizes profits.
    Keywords: laboratory and field experiments, multi-tasking, reciprocity, gift exchange
    JEL: C91 C93 J33 J41 D03
    Date: 2012–03
  12. By: Ivar Kolstad; Arne Wiig
    Abstract: While democracy is commonly believed to reduce corruption, there are obvious endogeneity problems in measuring the impact of democracy on corruption. This paper addresses the endogeneity of democracy by exploiting the common observation that democracies seldom go to war against each other. We instrument for democracy using a dummy variable reflecting whether a country has been at war with a democracy in the period 1946-2009, while controlling for the extent to which countries have been at war in general. We find that democracy to a significant extent reduces corruption, and the effect is considerably larger than suggested by estimations not taking endogeneity into account. Democracy is hence more important in combating corruption than previous studies would suggest.  
    Keywords: Democracy, corruption, conflict, endogeneity
    Date: 2011

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