nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒07‒23
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Hard to Forget: Long-lasting Effects of Social Capital Accumulation Shocks By Amodio, Francesco
  2. Do cooperative enterprises create social trust? By Fabio Sabatini; Francesca Modena; Ermanno Tortia
  3. In the Nation We Trust: National Identity as a Substitute for Religion By Harttgen, Kenneth; Opfinger, Matthias
  4. Time vs. Money – The Supply of Voluntary Labor and Charitable Donations across Europe By Thomas K. Bauer; Julia Bredtmann; Christoph M. Schmidt
  5. On the Norms of Charitable Giving in Islam: A Field Experiment By Lambarraa, Fatima; Riener, Gerhard
  6. The Neuroeconomics of Voting: Neural Evidence of Different Sources of Utility in Voting By Ivo Bischoff; Carolin Neuhaus; Peter Trautner; Bernd Weber
  7. The Clan and the City: Sustaining Cooperation in China and Europe By Avner Greif; Guido Tabellini
  8. Collective action in commercial mushroom production: the role of social capital in the management of informal farmer groups in Swaziland By Mabuza, M.L.; Ortmann, G.F.; Wale, E.Z.
  9. Facilitating access to rural services in Vietnam: The invisible social capital link By Hoang Dinh, Quoc; Dufhues, Thomas; Buchenrieder, Gertrud
  10. Social Incentives Matter: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment By Tonin, Mirco; Vlassopoulos, Michael
  11. Rules, Rule-Following, and Cooperation By Erik O. Kimbrough; Alexander Vostroknutov
  12. Trust as a Proxy for the Ability to Produce Local Public Goods: Testing Different Measures By Omar Sene
  13. Deeds rather than omissions: How intended consequences provoke negative reciprocity By Schubert, Manuel
  14. Honesty, lemons, and symbolic signals By Jorge M. Streb; Gustavo Torrens

  1. By: Amodio, Francesco (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: Very few contributions have dealt with the analysis of specific determinants of social capital accumulation and destruction. Even if limited in scale, the analysis of precise historical events can help in discerning the dynamics of social capital and its persistence. The case of Italian unification is here considered. I focus on three historical episodes of conflict, which caused the death of a big fraction of population in three specific locations. When towns in the areas surrounding these locations are considered, I show how each kilometer further from the hit town is associated with a significant increase in the electoral turnout in European Parliament elections held in 1979-1999. I believe these differences to reflect differences in social capital endowments across towns. The pattern is confirmed when World War I casualties are used as a measure of social capital at the beginning of the XXth century. Results are robust to the inclusion of a number of controls and to several robustness checks.
    Keywords: social capital; political participation; social capital persistence; Italy
    Date: 2012–06–20
  2. By: Fabio Sabatini; Francesca Modena; Ermanno Tortia
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature by carrying out the first empirical investigation into the role of different types of enterprises in the creation of social trust. Drawing on a unique dataset collected through the administration of a questionnaire to a representative sample of the population of the Italian Province of Trento in March 2011, we find that cooperatives are the only type of enterprise where the work environment fosters the social trust of workers.
    Keywords: Cooperative enterprises, nonprofit organizations, trust, social capital, motivations, inclusive governance, work organization.
    JEL: L31 L33 P13 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2012–07–10
  3. By: Harttgen, Kenneth (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Opfinger, Matthias (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    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: Religious Diversity; National Identity; Common Values
    JEL: J15 O10 Z12
    Date: 2012–06–22
  4. By: Thomas K. Bauer; Julia Bredtmann; Christoph M. Schmidt
    Abstract: Volunteering plays a prominent role in the charitable provision of goods and services, yet we know relatively little about why individuals spend time and money to the charity. Assuming that volunteering is a consumption good, we analyze the determinants of individuals’ charitable cash donations and volunteer labor as well as the interdependence between both goods. Using data from the European Social Survey, we find a positive relationship between time and money contributions on the individual as well as on the country level. The hypothesis that time and money donations are gross complements, however, is not supported by our analysis, as we find evidence that individuals substitute time donations by money donations as the price of time raises. Analyzing philanthropic behavior on a disaggregated level reveals large differences in the determinants and the relationship of time and money donations – both across different types of voluntary organizations and across different welfare regimes.
    Keywords: Private philanthropy; charitable contribution; voluntary organizations
    JEL: H41 J22 L31
    Date: 2012–07
  5. By: Lambarraa, Fatima; Riener, Gerhard
    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 report the results two field experiments with 534 and 186 participants at Moroccan educational institutions (among them two religious schools) to assess the effects this moral prescription on actual giving levels in anonymous and public settings. 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 from 59% to 77% percent as well as average donations for religious subjects from 8.90 to 13.00 Dh. This findings stand in stark contrast to most previous findings in the charitable giving literature and suggest to rethink fundraising strategies in Muslim populations.
    Keywords: Charitable giving, Islam, Social pressure, Priming, Religion, Norms, Field experiment, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, H40, C93, D01, Z12,
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Ivo Bischoff (University of Kassel); Carolin Neuhaus (University of Bonn); Peter Trautner (University of Bonn); Bernd Weber (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Which motives drive the decision of a voter to approve or reject a policy proposal? The Public Choice literature distinguishes between instrumental and expressive voting motives. We investigate the importance of these motives by analysing the patterns of neural activity in different voting situations. We conduct an fMRI-experiment which investigates neural activation at the moment of voting and use the altruism scale proposed by Tankersley et al. (2007) to differentiate between altruists and non-altruists. Non-altruists show neural activation patterns that are consistent with expressive voting motives. Among non-altruists, we also find activation patterns that point at egoistic instrumental motives. Both results are in line with the corresponding Public Choice literature. On the other hand, we find no evidence for expressive voting motives among altruists. Their neural activation pattern is generally much less conclusive with respect to the underlying motives.
    Keywords: Voting behavior, expressive voting, instrumental voting, political decision making, charitable donation, neuroscience, neuroeconomics, neuropolitical, fMRI
    JEL: D72 D87
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Avner Greif; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: Over the last millennium, the clan and the city have been the locus of cooperation in China and Europe respectively. This paper examines - analytically, historically,and empirically - the cultural, social, and institutional co-evolution that led to this bifurcation. We highlight that groups with which individuals identify are basic units of cooperation. Such groups impact institutional development because intra-group moral commitment reduces enforcement cost implying a comparative advantage in pursuing collective actions. Moral groups perpetuate due to positive feedbacks between morality, institutions, and the implied pattern of cooperation.
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Mabuza, M.L.; Ortmann, G.F.; Wale, E.Z.
    Abstract: With over 90% of mushroom producers having opted to participate in the industry through informal farmer groups, this paper sought to identify the key factors that unify members of informal collective initiatives. In contrast to formal organisations, which are regulated by law, informal groups are fully autonomous and not regulated by any legal instrument in Swaziland. Based on a conceptual framework that uses social capital dimensions to study collective action, trust, cooperation and communication were identified as the key elements responsible for ensuring cohesion in informal groups engaged in mushroom production. Further analysis indicated that trust is positively influenced by gender, age and religion, while cooperation was found to be influenced by members’ dependence on mushrooms for food. Communication, on the other hand, was found to be positively influenced by the level of trust and member cooperation. The empirical evidence indicates that members from communities characterized by positive cognitive social capital are most likely to engage in voluntary collective action in an attempt to improve their livelihoods. The study, therefore, recommends that informal groups developed voluntarily by community members should be encouraged and embraced as an important element of Swaziland’s development agenda.
    Keywords: collective action, social capital, mushrooms, Swaziland, Crop Production/Industries, Farm Management,
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Hoang Dinh, Quoc; Dufhues, Thomas; Buchenrieder, Gertrud
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of network based individual social capital on the access of rural households to services. In the context of development economics, an innovative data collection approach is used to determine network based social capital. The approach originates from the field of sociology and entails a personal network survey. We define four social capital variables according to tie strength (bonding/bridging) and social distance (bondinglink/bridginglink) between the respondent and his/her network member. The econometric results suggest that social capital with weaker ties in combination with socially distant ties bridginglink social capital) can potentially improve households’ access to rural services.
    Keywords: rural services, social capital, rural households, Vietnam, Agricultural and Food Policy, Agricultural Finance, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Crop Production/Industries, Demand and Price Analysis, Environmental Economics and Policy, Farm Management, Financial Economics, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty, Health Economics and Policy, Industrial Organization, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, International Development, International Relations/Trade, Labor and Human Capital, Land Economics/Use, Livestock Production/Industries, Marketing, Political Economy, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis, Public Economics, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy, Risk and Uncertainty, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2012
  10. By: Tonin, Mirco (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Vlassopoulos, Michael (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: Contributing to a social cause can be an important driver for workers in the public and non-profit sector as well as in firms that engage in Corporate Social Responsibility activities. This paper compares the effectiveness of social incentives to financial incentives using an online real effort experiment. We find that social incentives lead to a 20% rise in productivity, regardless of their form (lump sum or related to performance) or strength. When subjects can choose the mix of incentives half sacrifice some of their private compensation to increase social compensation, with women more likely than men. Furthermore, social incentives do not attract less productive subjects, nor subjects that respond more to exogenously imposed social incentives. Our calculations suggest that a dollar spent on social incentives is equivalent to increasing private compensation by at least half a dollar.
    Keywords: private incentives; social incentives; sorting; prosocial behavior; real effort experiment; corporate social responsibility; gender
    JEL: D64 J24 J32 L30 M14 M52
    Date: 2012–07–11
  11. By: Erik O. Kimbrough (Simon Fraser Unviersity); Alexander Vostroknutov (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Rules are thought to persist to the extent that the direct benefits of having them (e.g. reduced transactions costs) exceed the costs of enforcement and of occasional misapplications. We argue that a second crucial role of rules is as screening mechanisms for identifying cooperative types. Thus we underestimate the social value of rules when we consider only their instrumental value in solving a particular problem. We demonstrate experimentally that costly rule-following can be used to screen for conditional cooperators. Subjects participate in a rule-following task in which they may incur costs to follow an arbitrary written rule in an individual choice setting. Without their knowledge, we sort them into groups according to their willingness to follow the rule. These groups then play repeated public goods or trust games. Rule-following groups sustain high public goods contributions over time, but in rule-breaking groups cooperation decays. Rulefollowers also reciprocate more in trust games. However, when individuals are not sorted by type, we observe no differences in the behavior of rule-followers and rule-breakers.
    Keywords: experimental economics, rules, social dilemmas, cooperation
    JEL: C91 C92 D70 D03
    Date: 2012–07
  12. By: Omar Sene (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne)
    Abstract: The ability to produce local public goods and services such as sharing savings, risk, insurance, sanitation and educational services, is a key fator for development. This ability, however, varies greatly across communities (Ostrom 1990 ; Khwaja 2009). Considering that this ability depends critically on members' willingness to act collectively, this paper investigate whether the level of trust among people measured in different ways can predict the amount of public good produced. I find that (i) trust, as measured by survey questions, has poor predictive power, while (ii) the results from our version of Trust Game are much better predictors of local public-good production.
    Keywords: Trust, collective action, provision of local public goods, trust game.
    Date: 2012–06
  13. By: Schubert, Manuel
    Abstract: Intention-based models of reciprocity argue that people assess kindness by measuring the intended consequences of actual behavior (deeds) against foregone payoffs resulting from unchosen alternatives (omissions). While the effects of omissions have been intensively studied in recent years, less has been done with respect to the impact of deeds on reciprocation. I employ a novel game that alters the intended consequences behind actual behavior at constant levels of unchosen alternatives and realized payoffs. Aggregate results suggest that intended consequences only weakly matter for negative reciprocity. I find men to abstain from retaliation when others intend to mildly harm them. Women, however, seem to be largely invariant to intended consequences of actual behavior. --
    Keywords: intentions,reciprocity,kindness,gender
    JEL: D63 C78 C91
    Date: 2012
  14. By: Jorge M. Streb; Gustavo Torrens
    Abstract: Under asymmetric information, dishonest sellers lead to market unraveling in the lemons model. An additional cost of dishonesty is that language becomes cheap talk. We develop instead a model where people derive utility from actions (what they say), as well as from outcomes, so talk is costly. We find that the existence of honest agents that mean what they say is not enough to make trade more likely, unless a traceability condition that prevents arbitrage is met. When we introduce a continuum of misrepresentation cost types and qualities, full market unraveling is not possible and babbling equilibria are eliminated. More generally, costly talk is a special kind of signal, a symbolic signal that presupposes linguistic conventions, otherwise truth and falsehood, as well as misrepresentation costs, are undefined.
    Keywords: asymmetric information, honesty, trust, symbols, signals, costly talk
    JEL: D8 C7
    Date: 2012–07

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