nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒05‒15
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Social Capital, Government Expenditures, and Growth By Giacomo Ponzetto; Ugo Troiano
  2. On the Norms of Charitable Giving in Islam: A Field Experiment By Fatima Lambarraa; Gerhard Riener
  3. Money is an Experience Good: Competition and Trust in the Private Provision of Money By Ramon Marimon; Juan Pablo Nicolini; Pedro Teles
  4. Informal knowledge exchanges under complex social relations: A network study of handloom clusters in Kerala, India By Cowan, Robin; Kamath, Anant
  5. Motivational Factors that influence the Acceptance of Microblogging Social Networks: The µBAM Model By Francisco Rejón-Guardia; Juán Sánchez-Fernández; Francisco Muñoz-Leiva
  6. Coordination structures By Alfonso Rosa García; Hubert Janos Kiss
  7. Interests of Social Groups, Direction of Technical Progress, and Barriers to Development: How Sustainable is the World Economic Growth? By Vladimir D. Matveenk

  1. By: Giacomo Ponzetto; Ugo Troiano
    Abstract: Countries with greater social capital have higher economic growth. We show that social capital is also highly positively correlated across countries with government expenditure on education. We develop an infinite-horizon model of public spending and endogenous stochastic growth that explains both facts through frictions in political agency when voters have imperfect information. In our model, the government provides services that yield immediate utility, and investment that raises future productivity. Voters are more likely to observe public services, so politicians have electoral incentives to under-provide public investment. Social capital increases voters' awareness of all government activity. As a consequence, both politicians' incentives and their selection improve. In the dynamic equilibrium, both the amount and the efficiency of public investment increase, permanently raising the growth rate.
    Keywords: Social Capital, Government Expenditures, Economic Growth, Public Investment, Elections, Imperfect Information
    JEL: D72 D83 H50 H54 O43 Z13
    Date: 2012–02
  2. By: Fatima Lambarraa (Georg-August-University Göttingen); Gerhard Riener (University of Jena)
    Abstract: Charitable giving is one of the major obligations Islam and a strong Muslim norm endorses giving to the needy, but discourages public displays of giving. This norm is puzzling in light of previous evidence, suggesting that making donations public often increases giving. We use an experiment to assess the effects this moral prescription on actual giving levels in an anonymous and in a public setting. We conducted two field experiments with 534 and 186 subjects at Moroccan educational institutions. Subjects who participated in a paid study were given the option to donate from their payment to a local orphanage, under treatments that varied the publicity of the donation and the salience of Islamic values. In the salient Islamic treatment, anonymity of donations significantly increased donation incidence as well as average donations for religious subjects. This stands in stark contrast to most previous findings in the charitable giving literature.
    Keywords: Charitable giving; Islam; Social pressure; Priming; Religion; Norms; Field experiment
    JEL: H40 C93 D01 Z12
    Date: 2012–05–03
  3. By: Ramon Marimon; Juan Pablo Nicolini; Pedro Teles
    Abstract: We study the interplay between competition and trust as efficiency- enhancing mechanisms in the private provision of money. With commitment, trust is automatically achieved and competition ensures efficiency. Without commitment, competition plays no role. Trust does play a role but requires a bound on efficiency. Stationary inflation must be non-negative and, therefore, the Friedman rule cannot be achieved. The quality of money can only be observed after its purchasing capacity is realized. In that sense money is an experience good.
    Keywords: E40, E50, E58, E60
    Date: 2011–05
  4. By: Cowan, Robin (UNU-MERIT / MGSOG, Maastricht University, and BETA, Université de Strasbourg); Kamath, Anant (UNU-MERIT / MGSOG, Maastricht University, and University of Georgia, United States)
    Abstract: When agents use informal interaction to exchange knowledge, their production relations may develop as emergent properties of their social relations and may exhibit homophily. The Saliyar community cluster in India is an archetype of this. This cluster’s experience is investigated on how its thickly homophilous networks have steered it from dominance to decline, in the market for a product which calls for constant improvement of knowhow, under unchanging production technology. A network analysis of the Saliyars community cluster — in comparison with the networks of the communities in a cluster of a similar population at Payattuvila, which has surged ahead of the Saliyar Cluster in performance in handloom weaving — provides evidence that it is not simply social embeddedness alone, but the homophily in socially embedded links that are detrimental to clusters dependent upon informal knowledge exchanges. Hence, we provide evidence that social embeddedness is not as detrimental unless combined with homophily. The conceptual ambit of embeddedness has to broaden out to recognise that social relations come in various ‘homophilies’. This has many policy implications too as it involves studying embeddedness and homophily in rural traditional technology clusters intensively involving community social capital; such clusters being ubiquitous in India and whose experiences have not been scrutinised in this perspective.
    Keywords: Clusters, Handloom, Networks, Social Embeddedness, Homophily, Kerala
    JEL: D83 D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Francisco Rejón-Guardia (Department of Marketing and Market Research. University of Granada); Juán Sánchez-Fernández (Department of Marketing and Market Research. University of Granada); Francisco Muñoz-Leiva (Department of Marketing and Market Research. University of Granada)
    Abstract: The microblogging social networks (µBSNs) can serve to motivate students by narrowing the physical and psychological distances separating teachers and students, thus increasing their confidence and engagement in the learning process. To examine this issue in greater depth, an experiment was carried out using a µBSN before, during and after face-to-face class sessions. The findings demonstrated that the extended TAM model (with subjective norms and social images constructs) is suitable for explaining the acceptance of web-based teaching tools as well as the validity of microblogging networks in combination with traditional classes.
    Keywords: e-learning, TAM, µBAM, micro(nano)blogging, social networks
    JEL: M31 Z13 C31 L86 I21 C91
    Date: 2011–10–13
  6. By: Alfonso Rosa García (Universidad de Murcia); Hubert Janos Kiss (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
    Abstract: We study a coordination problem where agents act sequentially. Agents are embedded in anobservation network that allows them to observe the actions of their neighbors. We find thatcoordination failures do not occur if there exists a sufficiently large clique. Its existence isnecessary and sufficient when agents are homogenous and sufficient when agents differ and theirtypes are private. Other structures guarantee coordination when agents decide in some particularsequences or for particular payoffs. The coordination problem embodied in our game is appliedto the problems of revolts and bank runs.
    Keywords: Social networks, coordination failures, multiple equilibria, revolts, bank runs.
    JEL: C72 D82 D85 G21 Z13
    Date: 2012–04
  7. By: Vladimir D. Matveenk
    Abstract: A considerable part of literature in the theory of economic growth is devoted to detecting of a relative role of factor accumulation, technological changes and institutions in economic growth. In the present paper an attempt is made to link and explain stylized facts characterizing economic growth in the contemporary World: i) there is a high degree of heterogeneity in levels of development and growth rates of countries, ii) the countries are subdivided into groups characterized, correspondingly, by low, intermediate and high levels of the capital to labor ratio and of the average labor productivity, iii) these groups of countries are rather stable in their composition; in particular some countries with a low capital to labor ratio stay in a “poverty trap” for a long time, iv) there is a global tendency of an increase in the capital share in GNP, v) the growth is influenced by political and social factors. In this paper a model is proposed in which two types of technological changes are distinguished: (a) an endogenous growth of the total factor productivity (TFP) and (b) a change in a technological parameter of a production function defining a directedness of technological progress. The latter change in technology is controlled by social groups – owners of labor (workers) and owners of capital (“capitalists”) – in a country and takes place together with a change in factor shares. We describe areas of coincidence and of non-coincidence of interests of the social groups related to a choice of technology and, correspondingly, to a distribution of the national product. The frontiers of these areas are made more precise taking account of a boundedness of the capital to labor ratio. Roles of the TFP and the elasticity of substitution in formation of the areas of social cohesion are of social conflict are studied. It is proved that, under some conditions, a degree of social cohesion increases. In a certain degree, the model is close to models of the new political economy (see e.g. Besley, 2007) and fills their shortage of account of technological progress and of dependence of political decisions on the state of economy. The model provides a possible explanation of a stability of the poverty traps, it shows a role of the TFP as a potential for the economic growth, and, in particular, it demonstrates a possibility of an economic crisis in industrial countries in result of an “innovation pause”. The model also throws light on differences in possibilities of growth in poorly developed, actively developing and industrial countries; in particular, it explains, why there is no advantage of late start in low income countries in a poverty trap.
    Date: 2011–09

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