nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒06‒13
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Calamity, Aid and Indirect Reciprocity: the Long Run Impact of Tsunami on Altruism By Leonardo Becchetti; Stefano Castriota; Pierluigi Conzo
  2. In the Nation We Trust: National Identity as a Substitute for Religion By Harttgen, Kenneth; Opfinger, Matthias
  3. Sexual orientation and social exclusion in Italy By Botti, Fabrizio; D'Ippoliti, Carlo
  4. In Broad Daylight: Full Information and Higher-order Punishment Opportunities Promote Cooperation By Kenju Kamei; Louis Putterman
  5. Inherited Trust and Growth - Comment By Daniel Müller; Benno Torgler; Eric M. Uslaner
  6. Enhancement of social capital through participation in micro-finance: an empirical investigation By Kundu, AMIT
  7. Group Membership, Team Preferences, and Expectations (This is a new version of CEEL WP 6-09) By Francesco Guala; Luigi Mittone; Matteo Ploner
  8. Trust and innovation activity in European regions: A geographic instrumental variables approach By Schild, Christopher-Johannes
  9. Beliefs incentives and economic growth By Jellal , Mohamed
  10. The role of NGOs and civil society in development and poverty reduction By Nicola Banks; David Hulme
  11. Moral Hypocrisy, Power and Social Preferences By Aldo Rustichini; Marie-Claire Villeval
  12. Social Class and (Un)ethical Behavior: Evidence from a Large Population Sample By Trautmann, Stefan T.; van de Kuilen, Gijs; Zeckhauser, Richard J.

  1. By: Leonardo Becchetti (Università di Roma "Tor Vergata"); Stefano Castriota (Università di Roma "Tor Vergata"); Pierluigi Conzo (Università di Napoli and CSEF)
    Abstract: Natural disasters have been shown to produce effects on social capital, risk and time preferences of victims. We run experiments on altruistic preferences on a sample of Sri Lankan microfinance borrowers affected/unaffected by the tsunami shock in 2004 at a 7-year distance from the event (a distance longer than in most empirical studies). We find that people who suffered at least a damage from the event behave in dictator games less altruistically as senders (and expect less as receivers) than those who do not report any damage. Interestingly, among damaged, those who suffered also house damages or injuries send (expect) more than those reporting only losses to the economic activity. Since the former are shown to receive significantly more help than the latter we interpret this last finding as a form of indirect reciprocity.
    Keywords: tsunami, disaster recovery, social preferences, altruism, development aid
    JEL: C90 D03 O12
    Date: 2012–05–30
  2. By: Harttgen, Kenneth; Opfinger, Matthias
    Abstract: We construct an index for national identity using information from the World Values Survey on peoples’ attitudes concerning politics and to the state itself. We then analyze the relationship between our new measure of national identity and social heterogeneity. The results indicate that religious diversity is significantly and positively related to national identity, whereas other variables proxying social heterogeneity are not. We argue that national identity is a substitute for religion. At high levels of religious diversity people do not identify with their religious group. They search other objects of identification offering common values and norms. Hence, people identify at the national level. Furthermore, democratic institutions and mobility throughout the country affect national identity positively.
    Keywords: National Identity, Social Heterogeneity, Religious Diversity, Common Beliefs
    JEL: J15 O1 Z12
    Date: 2012–02
  3. By: Botti, Fabrizio; D'Ippoliti, Carlo
    Abstract: This work explores the role of discrimination in shaping individuals’ lives and opportunities, with specific respect to sexual orientation. The role of sexual orientation in explaining earning differences has been increasingly emphasized in empirical literature on discrimination mainly as a result of the growing availability of data sources on gays and lesbian populations. Available evidence predominantly converges on the one hand on the identification of discrimination treatments for gays and positive wage differential for lesbian women with respect to heterosexual counterparts. On the other hand, disagreement pervades interpretations of the predominant above-described labour market outcome. In trying to move beyond such conflicting views, we consider a holistic approach to social exclusion, defined as individuals’ ability to fully participate to social life by examining five domains: monetary poverty, labour market attachment, housing conditions, subjective well-being, and education. Three samples of different waves of the Banca d’Italia “Survey on household income and wealth” (SHIW - 2006, 2008 and 2010) were pooled in order to perform the empirical analysis on a reasonably sized sample of heterosexual couples identified according to a cohabitation criteria. Following the SHIW characteristics and definition of household, we are able to differentiate homosexual couples belonging to a sub-population of out same-sex couples from those who are not openly out about their homosexual relationship. We develop an understanding of social exclusion as a non-dichotomous concept (that is, one is not necessarily “included” or “excluded”, but a continuum of intermediate conditions exist) through fuzzy analysis techniques and develop a synthetic index of inclusion/exclusion as well as a number of partial indexes, composed of several variables pertaining to a certain domain. Overall indicators of social exclusion are examined for the full sample and for the sub-sample of workers only, comparing individuals cohabiting in same-sex couples with heterosexual counterparts. Our results point out that a significant and non-negligible portion of the social exclusion suffered by lesbian and gay couples cannot be accounted for by observable factors and may therefore be attributed to the impact of discrimination. Coherently with the existing literature, we find a differentiated impact on gay men and lesbian couples. However, and possibly more relevantly, we also find significant differences between the couples of “out” homosexual individuals and those composed of “closeted” individuals.
    Keywords: Sexual orientation; social inclusion; fuzzy analysis
    JEL: J71 D10 I32 B54
    Date: 2012–02–12
  4. By: Kenju Kamei; Louis Putterman
    Abstract: The expectation that non-cooperators will be punished can help to sustain cooperation, but there are competing claims about whether opportunities to engage in higher-order punishment (punishing punishment or failure to punish) help or undermine cooperation in social dilemmas. In a set of experimental treatments, we find that availability of higher-order punishment increases cooperation and efficiency when subjects have full information on the pattern of punishing, including its past history, and opportunities to punish are unrestricted. Availability of higher-order punishment reduces cooperation and efficiency if it is restricted to counter-punishing alone, if past history is unavailable, and if there is a dedicated counter-punishment stage.
    Keywords: collective action, social dilemma, voluntary contribution, public goods, punishment, counter-punishment, higher-order punishment.
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Daniel Müller; Benno Torgler; Eric M. Uslaner
    Abstract: Algan and Cahuc in "Inherited Trust and Growth" (AER, 2010) argue that "inherited trust" is a key factor in explaining growth rates across countries. They derive a measure of inherited trust by linking respondents’ "home countries" in the United States General Social Survey (1972-2004) and the 2000 wave of the World Values Survey. Algan and Cahuc then estimate trust levels for people born before 1910 (inherited trust in 1935) and afterwards (inherited trust in 2000). They show a strong link between economic growth rates and inherited trust. We do not challenge this result, but we do argue that: (1) the 2000 World Values Survey has many anomalous results; (2) the estimates for inherited trust in 1935 are mostly based upon tiny samples for most ethnic heritage groups in the General Social Survey; and (3) Algan and Cahuc’s findings are based upon two-tailed rather than one-tailed tests. We reestimate their model using the more reliable waves of the World Values Survey and find much weaker relationships between inherited trust in 1935 and trust in the home country. We also suggest caution in the overall measure of inherited trust in 1935.
    Keywords: inherited trust; generalized trust; US immigrants
    JEL: N31 N32 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2012–04
  6. By: Kundu, AMIT
    Abstract: Generation of social capital among the poor village women through micro-finance participation emerges an important aspect of rural development programme. This paper presents a method of calculating Social Capital Index and on the basis of two periods longitudinal primary data establishes the fact that enhancement of the value of Social Capital Index is more among the participants of micro-finance programme under SGSY scheme than the nonparticipants
    Keywords: Micro-finance; Social Capital; Impact Evaluation
    JEL: C90 I38 G21
    Date: 2011–06–10
  7. By: Francesco Guala; Luigi Mittone; Matteo Ploner
    Abstract: Group membership increases cooperation in social dilemma games, altruistic donation in dictator games, and fair offers in ultimatum games. While the empirical study of group action has grown rapidly over the years, there is little agreement at the theoretical level on exactly why and how group membership changes individual behaviour. According to some theorists, the effect of group framing is channelled primarily via the beliefs of group members, while others identify changes in preference as the key explanatory mechanism. We report an experiment using the minimal group paradigm and a prisoner’s dilemma with multiple actions, in which we manipulate players’ beliefs and show that common knowledge of group affiliation is necessary for group action. We also observe puzzling variations in behaviour when knowledge of group membership is asymmetric, which may be interpreted as cognitive dissonance generated by a normative cue administered in a highly unusual situation.
    Keywords: group identity, team preferences, social dilemmas, experimental economics
    JEL: C72 C92 H41
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Schild, Christopher-Johannes
    Abstract: For a cross-section of 123 European regions, a positive causal effect of generalised trust on innovation activity is identified using a set of geographic instrumental variables from climate and soil data. The geographic instrumental variables are defined and discussed. The popular explanation for spatial clustering of innovation by 'interregional knowledge spillovers' is empirically tested. It is found that spatial clustering of innovation activity can be better explained by a positive in uence of trust on innovation combined with the fact that neighboring regions typically show similar levels of trust. --
    Keywords: Social Capital,Trust,Innovation,Regional Economics,Europe
    JEL: O31 R11 R12 Z13
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Jellal , Mohamed
    Abstract: We integrate a general social norm function which associates status to accumulation of capital and consumption into a simple model of endogenous growth. We show that societies which place a greater weight on capital as opposed to consumption will experience fast growth.Our results are consistent with those obtained by Baumol(1990) in the context of entrepreneurship and by Fershtman and Weiss (1991
    Keywords: Beliefs ; social incentives; social status; growth
    JEL: Z1 D9 O43 Z13
    Date: 2012
  10. By: Nicola Banks; David Hulme
    Abstract: Abstract Since the late 1970s, NGOs have played an increasingly prominent role in the development sector, widely praised for their strengths as innovative and grassroots-driven organisations with the desire and capacity to pursue participatory and people-centred forms of development and to fill gaps left by the failure of states across the developing world in meeting the needs of their poorest citizens. While levels of funding for NGO programmes in service delivery and advocacy work have increased alongside the rising prevalence and prominence of NGOs, concerns regarding their legitimacy have also increased. There are ongoing questions of these comparative advantages, given their growing distance away from low-income people and communities and towards their donors. In addition, given the non-political arena in which they operate, NGOs have had little participation or impact in tackling the more structurally-entrenched causes and manifestations of poverty, such as social and political exclusion, instead effectively depoliticising poverty by treating it as a technical problem that can be ‘solved’. How, therefore, can NGOs ‘return to their roots’ and follow true participatory and experimental paths to empowerment? As this paper explores, increasingly, NGOs are recognised as only one, albeit important, actor in civil society. Success in this sphere will require a shift away from their role as service providers to that of facilitators and supporters of broader civil society organisations through which low-income communities themselves can engage in dialogue and negotiations to enhance their collective assets and capabilities.
    Date: 2012
  11. By: Aldo Rustichini (Department of Economics, University of Minnesota - University of Minnesota); Marie-Claire Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure - Lyon)
    Abstract: We show with a laboratory experiment that individuals adjust their moral principles to the situation and to their actions, just as much as they adjust their actions to their principles. We first elicit the individuals' principles regarding the fairness and unfairness of allocations in three different scenarios (a Dictator game, an Ultimatum game, and a Trust game). One week later, the same individuals are invited to play those same games with monetary compensation. Finally in the same session we elicit again their principles regarding the fairness and unfairness of allocations in the same three scenarios. Our results show that individuals adjust abstract norms to fit the game, their role and the choices they made. First, norms that appear abstract and universal take into account the bargaining power of the two sides. The strong side bends the norm in its favor and the weak side agrees : Stated fairness is a compromise with power. Second, in most situations, individuals adjust the range of fair shares after playing the game for real money compared with their initial statement. Third, the discrepancy between hypothetical and real behavior is larger in games where real choices have no strategic consequence (Dictator game and second mover in Trust game) than in those where they do (Ultimatum game). Finally the adjustment of principles to actions is mainly the fact of individuals who behave more selfishly and who have a stronger bargaining power. The moral hypocrisy displayed (measured by the discrepancy between statements and actions chosen followed by an adjustment of principles to actions) appears produced by the attempt, not necessarily conscious, to strike a balance between self-image and immediate convenience.
    Keywords: Moral hypocrisy; fairness; social preferences; power; self-deception
    Date: 2012–05–30
  12. By: Trautmann, Stefan T. (Tilburg University); van de Kuilen, Gijs (Tilburg University); Zeckhauser, Richard J. (Harvard University)
    Abstract: We test whether and how membership in the upper class affects ethical behavior in a large representative population sample. Using objective measures of socioeconomic status to define class, we find no evidence of a general tendency for upper class to be less ethical, although we do replicate previous findings that higher status leads to less condemnation of infidelity. We also find evidence that higher class status leads to more self-focus and disengagement, as previously shown in laboratory studies with convenience samples.
    Date: 2012–05

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