nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒07‒29
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Social Influence in Trustors' Neighborhoods By Luigi Luini; Annamaria Nese; Patrizia Sbriglia
  2. Can Mistargeting Destroy Social Capital and Stimulate Crime? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Program in Indonesia By Cameron, Lisa A.; Shah, Manisha
  3. Income Inequality and Self-Reported Values By Corneo, Giacomo; Neher, Frank
  4. Conceptualizing Social Capital in the Context of Housing and Neighbourhood Management By Richard Lang; Dietmar Roessl
  5. Social Incentives Matter: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment By Tonin, Mirco; Vlassopoulos, Michael
  6. Why it matters what people think: Beliefs, legal origins and the deep roots of trust By Wahl, Fabian
  7. Social Capital and growth in the European Regions By Marta Portela; Isabel Neira
  8. Factors of Social Capital in Rural Settlements: Case of Hilvan By Tuba Inal Cekic
  9. New Regression Models with Egocentric Social Network Data: An analysis of political party preference in Japan By YAMAGUCHI Kazuo
  10. Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Leonardo Bursztyn; Florian Ederer; Bruno Ferman; Noam Yuchtman
  11. Does the direct-response method induce guilt aversion in a trust game? By Amdur, David; Schmick, Ethan
  12. SOCIAL CAPITAL AND ITS INFLUENCE ON RURAL CREDIT MARKET By Fernando Perrini Daruge; Roberto Arruda de Souza Lima
  14. Who is Willing to Sacrifice Sacred Values for Money and Social Status? Gender Differences in Reactions to Taboo Trade-offs By Kenneby, Jessica A.; Kray, Laura J.

  1. By: Luigi Luini; Annamaria Nese; Patrizia Sbriglia
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to ascertain whether trust is affected by contagion and herding in small groups of trustors who can observe each other’s choices over time. We account for three important factors of trustors’preferences, namely: risk attitude, generosity and expected trustworthiness. Using our data, we test the basic hypothesis that an individual's propensity to trust recipients in the Trust Game may be affected by the observed behavior of other trustors. Our results confirm that trust is affected by contagion effects. Furthermore, we find that specific types of agents (generous or untrusting) frequently imitate the same type when placed in the same group. Finally, we find that untrusting individuals are less affected by their peers compared to generous individuals, and that they are less prone to imitation when placed in groups of agents who have the same characteristics.
    Keywords: trust game, experiments, social influence, imitation.
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2012–07
  2. By: Cameron, Lisa A. (Monash University); Shah, Manisha (University of California, Irvine)
    Abstract: Cash transfer programs can provide important financial support for poor households in developing countries and are becoming increasingly common. However the potential for mistargeting of program funds is high. This paper focuses on the social consequences arising from misallocation of resources in close knit communities. We find that the mistargeting of a cash transfer program in Indonesia is significantly associated with increases in crime and declines in social capital within communities. Hence poorly administered transfer programs have a potentially large negative downside that extends beyond the pure financial costs that have been the focus of the literature to date.
    Keywords: cash transfer programs, crime, mistargeting, social capital
    JEL: O12 O15 I38
    Date: 2012–07
  3. By: Corneo, Giacomo; Neher, Frank
    Abstract: This paper offers a comprehensive econometric investigation of the impact of income inequality on the values endorsed by people. Using survey data from all thirty-four OECD countries over a period of almost thirty years, the following dimensions of value systems are investigated: work ethic, civism, obedience, honesty, altruism, and tolerance. In most cases, no robust effects from inequality on values are detected. However, there is evidence that a more unequal income distribution strengthens the work ethic of the population. Thus, income inequality seems to generate work incentives not only via the pecuniary reward of work but also through the symbolic reward it receives.
    Keywords: Income inequality; Value systems
    JEL: D63 O15 O57 Z1
    Date: 2012–05
  4. By: Richard Lang; Dietmar Roessl
    Abstract: This paper provides a systematic literature overview of existing research on social capital in relation to housing and neighbourhood management. A growing body of research documents the significance of social capital for the social cohesion and well-being of neighbourhoods. Thus, in recent years, social capital has become a key concept for both, practitioners and academics dealing with issues of housing and neighbourhood management. However, as a result of its widespread use, social capital has also developed into a rather heuristic concept, generating controversy about its conceptualisation and measurement. Consequently, published articles show a high level of heterogeneity in their social capital approaches and thus, raise the demand for a review of current research in housing and neighbourhood management. Applying the method of systematic literature review, this article first identifies different schools of social capital research in the current research on housing and neighbourhood management. In a second step, theoretical as well as empirical contributions, within these research streams, are analysed and evaluated with regard to content and methodology. Finally, the paper aims to identify possible benefits and pitfalls of the different conceptualisations of social capital when studying housing areas and drawing implications for their management. Our findings highlight a lack of consensus on what social capital is, and how it should be defined in the context of housing and neighbourhood management. From the review, it is evident that researchers primarily focus on solidarity norms and patterns of social and political participation on the neighbourhood level, thus, treating social capital as a collective asset. However, extending the concept from its theoretical roots in social networks can lead to major conceptualisation and measurement problems. Thus, without clarifying the relationship between variables on the individual and collective level, the usefulness of social capital as an analytical concept for the study of housing areas is likely to be limited.
    Date: 2011–09
  5. By: Tonin, Mirco (University of Southampton); Vlassopoulos, Michael (University of Southampton)
    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 L3 M14 M52
    Date: 2012–07
  6. By: Wahl, Fabian
    Abstract: This paper analyses the connection between legal origins and generalized trust. Based on recent results of institutions and trust research it argues that legal origins and trust are connected via the beliefs of agents. Next, it develops hypotheses about a complex and self-reinforcing causal relation between both. It then shows empirically that indeed, legal origins and contemporary trust are robustly connected with each other. In a next step, it investigates the deep historical roots of trust to construct proxies for historical trust levels in 1500 AD. By making use of the historical trust scores and information about the exogenous or endogenous introduction of legal origins in certain countries it assess some of the claims about causality made before. Here, it found confirming evidence for the propositions of Aghion et al. (2010), namely that (i) countries for which legal origins are endogenous did develop other legal traditions depending on their ex-ante (historical) trust values and (ii) that the effects of an exogenous introduction of legal origins vary depending on ex-ante trust levels. --
    Keywords: Trust,Legal Origins,Colonization,Institutions,Causality,Deep Rooted Factors of Development
    JEL: K40 N10 O10 Z10
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Marta Portela; Isabel Neira
    Abstract: Theories of economic growth at the regional and national level, have expanded the traditional production function of the Solow model towards a wide function that collects conditioning factors of labour productivity, measured by R & D expenditure, the number of patents, the human capital, the social capital or entrepreneurship rates. This set of factors have been developed by authors like Westlund (2006) and Koo and Kim (2009). The aim of this paper is to analyze regional growth in the EU, considering the differences between the EU15 and its eastern regions, using such set of factors and taking into account the limitations of existing data for this type of analysis.
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: Tuba Inal Cekic
    Abstract: The concept of social capital, comprising social networks, norms of reciprocity and trust, has been gaining wide interest among researchers and policy makers. So it became a common concept to use social capital as a way to both describe and understand economical, political and social wellbeing of community. While the importance of social capital is highlighted in regional and rural development strategies, Turkey has gone into a fundamental restructuring process in rural and regional development policies in terms of European Union (EU) membership process. Social capital factors in rural settlements within the context of rural development in Rural area of Hilvan, has been put forth as the main theme of this paper. The paper aims to provide an overview of the concept of social capital for rural development and discusses social capital in terms of participation, trust, openness to diversity, and social-institutional networks. Potential items to measure these elements were developed in an empirical study conducted in rural area of Hilvan. Statistical analysis has been used to define factors of social capital and relation between factors and other independent variables like characteristics of rural settlements, socio-cultural structure of rural households and agricultural property and production types.
    Date: 2011–09
  9. By: YAMAGUCHI Kazuo
    Abstract: This paper introduces some regression models for a categorical dependent variable with data from egocentric social networks as covariates to analyze the determinants of the outcome for the subject and those of the extent of agreement or disagreement between the outcomes for the subject and the persons to whom he/she is directly connected. The merits of those models are their wide applicability to surveys that collect data on egocentric social networks and their capacity to identify the determinants of agreement between the subject's and his/her friends' attitudinal or behavioral outcomes, controlling for the tendency to agree due to homophily in the choice of friends. An illustrative application using data from the 2004 Japanese General Social Survey shows that several substantively distinct characteristics of egocentric networks affect the subject's political party preference and the extent of agreement in the preference between the subject and that of his/her significant others.
    Date: 2012–07
  10. By: Leonardo Bursztyn; Florian Ederer; Bruno Ferman; Noam Yuchtman
    Abstract: Using a field experiment conducted with a financial brokerage, we attempt to disentangle channels through which a person’s financial decisions affect his peers’. When someone purchases an asset, his peers may also want to purchase it because they learn from his choice (“social learning”) and because his possession of the asset directly affects others’ utility of owning the same asset (“social utility”). We randomize whether one member of a peer pair who chose to purchase an asset has that choice implemented, thus randomizing possession of the asset. Then, we randomize whether the second member of the pair: 1) receives no information about his peer, or 2) is informed of his peer’s desire to purchase the asset and the result of the randomization determining possession. We thus estimate the effects of: (a) learning plus possession, and (b) learning alone, relative to a control group. In the control group, 42% of individuals purchased the asset, increasing to 71% in the “social learning only” group, and to 93% in the “social learning and social utility” group. These results suggest that herding behavior in financial markets may result from social learning, and also from a desire to own the same assets as one’s peers.
    JEL: C93 D03 D14 D83 G0 G11 M31
    Date: 2012–07
  11. By: Amdur, David; Schmick, Ethan
    Abstract: We compare the strategy and direct-response methods in a one-shot trust game with hidden action. In our experiment, the decision elicitation method affects neither participants' behavior nor their beliefs about this behavior. We conclude that the direct-response method does not, by itself, induce guilt aversion.
    Keywords: Trust; guilt aversion; strategy method; direct-response method; behavioral economics; experimental economics
    JEL: D03 A13 C91
    Date: 2012–06
  12. By: Fernando Perrini Daruge; Roberto Arruda de Souza Lima
    Abstract: This study analyses the relationship between social capital accumulation and the amount of rural credit market contracts of the State of São Paulo, Brazil. The most important definitions of social capital found on literature and the main ways of creation and measure this variable were reported. It discusses the connection between social capital and information and how this relation contributes to the reduction of financial intermediation’s transaction costs, that results on rural credit volume increasing. It was used the same logit regression model that have been created and used by LIMA (2003), to empirically test the effect of social capital on the volume of rural credit. The data, from the municipalities of the State of São Paulo, are from 2007/2008 official statistics (Farm Census, LUPA and SEADE’s data basis). The results indicate that the level of social capital is positively-correlated with the amount of rural credit. That shows the governmental incentives to further increase and maintain social capital would result on rural sector’s development.
    Date: 2011–09
  13. By: Inga Britt Werner; Kerstin Klingborg
    Abstract: As generally in Sweden, the municipality of Stockholm owns a major proportion of the rental housing stock, through its housing companies. At present tenants are offered to buy the real estate units from the municipal housing companies, in the form of tenant-owners associations. This extensive process of conversion of tenure will have major influence on the Stockholm housing market, also in respects such as the relationships between residents and between residents and the society’s institutions. The aim of the study is to analyze whether social capital, here in forms of trust and norms as well as the resulting collective action and conflicts, changes with conversing tenure. The design of the study is quasi experimental. Ten buildings in five neighborhoods are chosen pair wise; one already converted into tenant-owners associations and one assumed to continue being owned by the municipal housing company. Data are collected through telephone interviews at two occasions: spring 2008 and spring 2010. Interviews with key persons of the management staff in the five neighborhoods are carried out to compare the two kinds of tenure with design principles of effective institutions (Ostrom 1990). This paper analyzes the results of the first round of interviews: 300 telephone interviews with residents and 15 face to face interviews with management staff. Analysis methods for data from the interviews of residents are cross tabulations with Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests, factor and regression analyses. Results indicate that residents forming tenant-owners associations have more trust in neighbors in the neighborhood and in politicians at local and municipality levels but less trust in the housing company and the neighborhood police than those continuing to rent. Also indicated are local versions of social capital not only related to the conversion process. Interview results indicate that the studied rental housing institutions differ from the ideal design principles referring to Ostrom. For example, the first of her design principles: clearly defined boundaries, seems to be problematic for the housing companies. Unauthorized subletting and high mobility rates contribute to uncertainty of who has the right to use common resources, leading to conflicts and dwindling norms.
    Date: 2011–09
  14. By: Kenneby, Jessica A.; Kray, Laura J.
    Abstract: Women select into top business degree programs at a lower rate than men and are underrepresented in high-ranking positions in business organizations. We examined taboo trade-off aversion as one possible explanation for these patterns. In Study 1, we found that women implicitly associated business with immorality more than men did. In Study 2, when reading of decisions that compromised ethical values for social status and monetary gains, women reported feeling more moral outrage and perceived less business sense in the decisions than men. In Study 3, we established a causal relationship between taboo trade-off aversion and women’s disinterest in business careers by manipulating the presence of taboo trade-offs in job descriptions. As hypothesized, an interaction between gender and taboo trade-off presence emerged. Only when jobs involved making taboo trade-offs did women report less interest in the jobs than men. Women's moral reservations mediated these effects.
    Keywords: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Business Administration, Management and Operations, gender, judgment and decision-making, ethics, morality
    Date: 2012–07–23

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