nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒09‒03
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. Why follow the leader ? collective action, credible commitment and conflict By Keefer, Philip
  2. Moral sentiments, institutions, and civil society: Exploiting family resemblances between Smith and Hegel to resolve some conceptual issues in Sen's recent contributions to the theory of justice By Boldyrev, Ivan A.; Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
  3. Good Samaritans and the Market: Experimental Evidence on Other-Regarding Preferences By Michele Belot; Marcel Fafchamps
  4. A Theory of Reciprocity with Incomplete Information By Vostroknutov Alexander
  5. Subjective performance evaluations and reciprocity in principal-agent relations By Alexander Sebald; Markus Walzl
  6. The Internet, News Consumption, and Political Attitudes By Liang, Che-Yuan; Nordin, Mattias
  7. Give and Take in Dictator Games. By Cappelen, Alexander W.; Nielsen, Ulrik H.; Sørensen, Erik Ø.; Tungodden, Bertil; Tyran, Jean-Robert
  8. Promises as Commitments By Ismayilov, H.; Potters, J.J.M.
  9. Does Waste Management Policy Crowd out Social and Moral Motives for Recycling? By Paul Missios; Ida Ferrara
  10. Beliefs and truth-telling: A laboratory experiment By Ronald Peeters; Marc Vorsatz; Markus Walzl
  11. Tolerance as a European Norm or an Ottoman Practice? An Analysis of Turkish Public Debates on the (Re)Opening of an Armenian Church in the Context of Turkey’s EU Candidacy and Neo-Ottoman Revival By Bilgin Ayata
  12. Voluntary participation in community collaborative forest management: A case study of Central Java,Indonesia By Sri Lestari; Koji Kotani; Makoto Kakinaka

  1. By: Keefer, Philip
    Abstract: Most analyses of conflict assume that conflicting groups act in a unitary fashion. This assumption is often violated: to reduce their risk of replacement, group leaders prevent both group members and soldiers from acting collectively, making it difficult for leaders to make credible commitments to them. Lifting the assumption that groups are unitary shifts the analysis of a wide range of conflict issues. The effects of income shocks and rents on conflict risk become contingent on collective action. Leader decisions regarding collective action explain the forcible recruitment of child soldiers and predation on civilians: leaders who prefer to limit military organization are more likely to pursue these tactics. Leader decisions regarding collective action also introduce an unexplored mechanism by which state capacity is created and a specific reason to regard state capacity as endogenous to conflict risk. This focus, finally, suggests that interventions to reduce conflict risk, such as safety net payments or service delivery, are likely to be most difficult to deliver precisely where leaders are most reluctant to allow collective action and where, therefore, conflict risk is highest.
    Keywords: Post Conflict Reconstruction,Peace&Peacekeeping,Armed Conflict,Labor Policies,International Terrorism&Counterterrorism
    Date: 2012–08–01
  2. By: Boldyrev, Ivan A.; Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
    Abstract: In his Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen compares the two basic approaches to evaluate institutions, transcendental institutionalism and realization-focused comparisons. Referring to Smith's Impartial Spectator, he argues in favour of the latter and proposes the principle of Open Impartiality. However, this cannot solve the tension between universalism and contextualization of values that Sen therefore inherits from Smith. Based on recent Hegel scholarship, we argue that some of the difficulties can be resolved, considering the role Smith played in the development of Hegel's thinking. Hegel's concept of recognition plays an essential role in establishing the possibility of impartiality both on the level of consciousness and on the level of institutional intersubjectivity. Hegel's critique of Kants formalist ethics (also considered as transcendental institutionalism by Sen), his analysis of the civil society in the Philosophy of Right, especially his focus on associations and estates, can serve as a model for making Sen's focus on public discourse theoretically more concise and pragmatically feasible. Hegel shows that universalistic attitudes can only emerge in specific institutional contexts. --
    Keywords: Theory of Moral Sentiments,Sen,Hegel,recognition,civil society,associations,public discourse
    JEL: B12 B25 B52
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Michele Belot (University of Oxford); Marcel Fafchamps (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Some evidence suggests that people behave more pro-socially in small groups than in market-like situations. We construct an experiment in which people choose between allocations that affect their payoff and that of others. The choices of some participants are randomly selected to determine payoffs. We test whether people exhibit different other-regarding preferences depending on how the choice is framed. To mimic a market-like environment, we ask subjects to select a type of partner, either high or low. Selecting a partner of a given type effectively removes this pairing from other players. We compare this treatment to two alternatives where people are first assigned to groups of two high and two low participants. In one treatment, they are then asked to choose between a high and low partner. In the other, they are asked to choose between two payoff allocations for the four individuals. These two treatments make the implication of one's choice on others more salient. We find that most subjects pursue their self-interest, but high payoff participants behave more altruistically in small groups while low payoff participants display more invidious choices in the market-like environment. The implication is that while some efficiency can be achieved in small groups thanks to altruism, a market-like environment reduces good samaritan tendencies, possibly because the negative effect of one's choice on others is less salient.
    Keywords: Behavioral experiment, Social preferences, Partnership formation
    JEL: C90 D63 D64 Z13
    Date: 2012–08
  4. By: Vostroknutov Alexander (METEOR)
    Abstract: A model of belief dependent preferences in finite multi-stage games with observable actions isproposed. It combines two dissimilar approaches: incomplete information (Levine, 1998) andintentionality (Dufwenberg and Kirchsteiger, 2004; Falk and Fischbacher, 2006). Incompleteinformation is important because social preferences are not directly observable; intentions arefound to be indispensable in explaining behavior in games (Falk, Fehr, and Fischbacher, 2008). Inthe model it is assumed that the players have social attitudes that define their socialpreferences. In addition, players care differently about the payoffs of other players depending ontheir beliefs about their social attitude and possibly on the beliefs of higher orders. As thegame unfolds players update their beliefs about the types of other players. An action of a playershows intention when she chooses it anticipating future belief updating by others. A reasoningprocedure is proposed that allows players to understand how to update beliefs by constructing asequence of logical implications.
    Keywords: microeconomics ;
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Alexander Sebald; Markus Walzl
    Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment with agents working on and principals benefitting from a real effort task in which the agents' performance can only be evaluated subjectively. Principals give subjective performance feedback to agents and agents have an opportunity to sanction principals. In contrast to existing models of reciprocity we find that agents tend to sanction whenever the feedback of principals is below their subjective self-evaluations even if agents' payoffs are independent of it. In turn, principals provide more positive feedback (relative to their actual performance assessment of the agent) if this does not affect their payoffs.
    Keywords: Contracts, Subjective Performance Evaluations, Reciprocity
    JEL: D01 D02 D82 D86 J41
    Date: 2012–08
  6. By: Liang, Che-Yuan (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies); Nordin, Mattias (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of the rise of the Internet as an additional mass medium on news consumption patterns and political attitudes. We use Swedish survey data from 2002 to 2007, the period during which online news media emerged. We find that broadband access is associated with online media consumption which, to some extent, crowds out offline consumption. Furthermore, these altered news consumption patterns have no or small effects on political attitudes.
    Keywords: news; the Internet; political attitudes
    JEL: D72 D83
    Date: 2012–07–17
  7. By: Cappelen, Alexander W. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Nielsen, Ulrik H. (University of Copenhagen); Sørensen, Erik Ø. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Tungodden, Bertil (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Tyran, Jean-Robert (University of Vienna)
    Abstract: It has been shown that participants in the dictator game are less willing to give money to the other participant when their choice set also includes the option to take money. We examine whether this effect is due to the choice set providing a signal about entitlements in a setting where entitlements initially may be considered unclear. We find that the share of positive transfers depends on the choice set even when there is no uncertainty about entitlements, and that this choice-set effect is robust across a heterogenous group of participants recruited from the general adult population in Denmark. The findings are consistent with dictator giving partly being motivated by a desire to signal that one is not entirely selfish or by a desire to follow a social norm that is choice-set dependent.
    Keywords: Dictator game; motivation; choice
    JEL: C91 D63
    Date: 2012–07–06
  8. By: Ismayilov, H.; Potters, J.J.M. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Abstract: We implement a trust game in which the trustee can write a free-form pre-play message for the trustor. The main twist in our design is that there is a 50% probability that the message is delivered to the trustor and a 50% probability that the message is replaced by an empty sheet. We find that even when messages are not delivered trustees who make a promise are significantly more likely to act trustworthy than those who do not make a promise. This suggests that a promise has a commitment value which is independent of its impact on the trustor. Interestingly, we also find that both trustees who make a promise and those who do not make a promise are more likely to be trustworthy if their message is delivered to the trustor. This means that communication increases trustworthiness irrespective of the content of messages.
    Keywords: Promises;communication;trust;beliefs;experimental economics.
    JEL: C91 D03 D82 L15
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Paul Missios (Department of Economics, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada); Ida Ferrara (Department of Economics, York University, Toronto, Canada)
    Abstract: In this paper, we consider households' decision of whether to recycle within a theoretical framework that allows for the inclusion of social and moral motivations. The former comes from valuing social approval while the latter comes from valuing self-image. In the context of our theoretical framework, we introduce a unit pricing system and, separately, mandatory recycling and analyze how each affects the equilibrium in terms of whether a society recycles. We show that a unit pricing system enhances the effect of intrinsic motivation (there is crowding in) while mandatory recycling erodes it (there is crowding out) provided that the marginal utility of self-image falls short of the cost of recycling relative to the environmental benefit of living in a society in which everyone recycles. If mandatory recycling is accompanied by an improvement in recycling services that applies to all recyclables and not just the mandated recyclables, crowding out becomes less likely to occur; if the improved services only apply to the mandated recyclables, there is however no effect on the potential for crowding out. Using an international household-level data set, we find support for the hypothesis that mandatory recycling can lead to crowding out while unit pricing does and, to some extent, can relate the potential for crowding out to higher recycling costs.
    Keywords: Unit Pricing; Mandatory Recycling; Social Motivation; Moral Motivation; Crowding in; Crowding out
    JEL: D03 H31 H41 Q53
    Date: 2012–08
  10. By: Ronald Peeters; Marc Vorsatz; Markus Walzl
    Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment with a constant-sum sender-receiver game to investigate the impact of individuals' first- and second-order beliefs on truth-telling. While senders are more likely to lie if they expect the receiver to trust their message, they are more likely to tell the truth if they belief the receiver expects them to tell the truth. Our results therefore indicate that second-order beliefs are an important component of the motives for individuals in strategic information transmission.
    Keywords: Experiment, Sender-receiver games, Strategic information transmission, Guilt-from-blame, let-down aversion
    JEL: C70 C91 D03
    Date: 2012–08
  11. By: Bilgin Ayata
    Abstract: Turkey has undergone significant legal and institutional reforms regarding minority rights and cultural rights in the past decade as part of a reform process to meet political criteria for EU membership. However, it has not been studied so far if this increasing institutional compliance has also led to transformations at a normative level in the public discourse in Turkey. To explore this question, this paper presents the results of a qualitative media analysis that I conducted on the restoration and reopening of an Armenian church in 2007 – a milestone for the Republic as churches were destroyed or doomed to vanish for nearly a century since the Armenian Genocide in 1915. The restoration of the Sourp Khatch/Akhtamar Church became a showcase for Turkey’s self-promotion as a ‘tolerant nation’. However, the church was notably made accessible to the public as a museum that initially lacked the cross on its dome and was conceived to only host a religious service once a year. This opening of a church-museum is a symbolic instance in Turkey’s ongoing transformation process in which tolerance and plurality have become prominent keywords in politics and public debate. Yet, as the findings suggest, they do not so as a reflection of European norms, but rather stand for a rediscovery and reinterpretation of Turkey’s Ottoman past practices as a multi-religious empire. I show, however, that this reinterpretation occurs on the shaky grounds of a blindfolded view of the past, in particular the denial of the Armenian Genocide, and on the denial that minorities are still endangered in present day Turkey. I conclude that, without an acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey’s nostalgic embracement of the Ottoman past and representation of norms such as tolerance as the ‘true’ Turkish/Islamic norms do not stand for a norm internalization or a norm adaption process, but instead, for a disconnection between norm and practice.
    Keywords: international relations; Turkey
    Date: 2012–07–03
  12. By: Sri Lestari (Forestry Research Institute, Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia); Koji Kotani (International University of University); Makoto Kakinaka (International University of University)
    Abstract: This paper examines voluntary participation in community forest management, and characterizes how more participation may be induced. We implemented a survey of 571 respondents and conducted a case study in Central Java, Indonesia. The study's novelty lies in categorizing the degrees of participation into three levels and in identifying how socio-economic factors affect people's participation at each level. The analysis finds heterogeneous responses across the three levels and also finds that publicly organized programs, such as information provision and benefit sharing, are highly effective. Overall, the results suggest a positive perspective and further corrective measures for the success of community forest management.
    Keywords: Voluntary participation, Community collaborative forest management, Participation level
    Date: 2012–08

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