nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒11‒17
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. Trust and Cheating By Jeffrey Butler; Paola Giuliano; Luigi Guiso
  2. Crime and Erosion of Trust: Evidence for Latin America By Ana Corbacho; Julia Philipp; Mauricio Ruiz-Vega
  3. Does Trust Matter For Entrepreuneurship : Evidence From A Cross-Section Of Countries By Kodila-Tedika, Oasis; Agbor Agbor, Julius
  4. Noblesse Oblige? Moral Identity and Prosocial Behavior in the Face of Selfishness By Dessi, Roberta; Monin, Benoît
  5. Social networks and the process of "globalization" By Dürnecker, Georg; Vega-Redondo, Fernando
  6. Out of sight, not out of mind. Education networks and international trade By Marina Murat
  7. On the Nature of Reciprocity: Evidence from the Ultimatum Reciprocity Measure By Andreas Nicklisch; Irenaeus Wolff
  8. Capital social, théorie des réseaux sociaux et recherche en PME : une revue de la littérature By Bernard Dussuc; Sébastien Geindre

  1. By: Jeffrey Butler (EIEF); Paola Giuliano (University of California-Los Angeles, NBER, CEPR and IZA); Luigi Guiso (EIEF and CEPR)
    Abstract: When we take a cab we may feel cheated if the driver takes an unnecessarily long route despite the lack of a contract or promise to take the shortest possible path. Is our decision to take the cab affected by our belief that we may end up feeling cheated? Is the behavior of the driver affected by his beliefs about what we consider cheating? We address these questions in the context of a trust game by asking participants directly about their notions of cheating. We find that i) both parties to a trust exchange have implicit notions of what constitutes cheating even in a context without promises or messages; ii) these notions are not unique (the vast majority of senders would feel cheated by a negative return on their trust/investment, whereas a sizable minority defines cheating according to an equal split rule); iii) these implicit notions affect the behavior of both sides to the exchange in terms of whether to trust or cheat and to what extent. Finally, we show that individuals' notions of what constitutes cheating can be traced back to two classes of values instilled by parents: cooperative and competitive. The first class of values tends to soften the notion while the other tightens it.
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Ana Corbacho; Julia Philipp; Mauricio Ruiz-Vega
    Abstract: Crime has tangible economic costs. It also has less understood and likely sizable intangible costs. In particular, widespread crime has the potential to weaken trust between citizens and institutions, undermine government reform efforts, and become an obstacle to development. Yet, the impact of crime on trust remains relatively unexplored in the literature. This paper analyzes the potential interrelationship between individual victimization and several measures of trust, including trust in formal public institutions and trust in informal private networks. It is based on a representative sample of individuals in 19 countries in Latin America. The empirical strategy is intended to mitigate overt biases and assess sensitivity to hidden biases. The results show that victimization has a substantial negative effect on trust in the local police but no robust effect on informal institutions. Governments may henceforth need to redouble efforts to reduce victimization and the resulting erosion of trust in public institutions.
    Keywords: Public Sector :: Citizen Security & Crime Prevention, Crime, Beliefs, Trust, Social Capital, Welfare
    JEL: D74 D83 H41 I39 K42 O54
    Date: 2012–08
  3. By: Kodila-Tedika, Oasis; Agbor Agbor, Julius
    Abstract: To the extent that trust is necessary to conduct informal sector business activities, its absence could possibly constrain entrepreneurial spirit and overall economic growth. This paper tests the hypothesis that differences in trust levels between countries explain the observed differences in entrepreneurial spirit amongst them. Analyzing a cross-section of 60 countries in 2010, our findings suggest that about half of the variation in entrepreneurial spirit across countries in the world is driven by trust considerations. This result is robust to regional clustering and to alternative conditioning variables. The findings of the study suggest that while formal incentives to nurture entrepreneurship must be maintained, policy-makers should also pay attention to the role of trust cultivated through informal networks.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Trust; Institutions
    JEL: D2 P48 L26 Z13
    Date: 2012–10–29
  4. By: Dessi, Roberta (IDEI, Toulouse School of Economics); Monin, Benoît (Stanford University)
    Abstract: What makes individuals conform or diverge after observing prosocial or selfish behavior by others? We study experimentally how social comparison (observing a peer’s behavior) interacts with identity motives for cooperation. Participants play two games. We increase the strength of the identity motive by inducing subjects in a treatment condition to infer their identity from behavior in the first game. Cooperators who observe a peer defect donate 28% more to their unknown partner in the second game in the treatment than in the control group. Our results are consistent with the predictions of Bénabou and Tirole (2011), and show that the "suckerto- saint effect" identified by Jordan and Monin (2008) can have important behavioral consequences.
    Keywords: ,
    JEL: A1 A12 D1 D3 D64 Z1
    Date: 2012–11
  5. By: Dürnecker, Georg; Vega-Redondo, Fernando
    Abstract: We propose a stylised dynamic model to understand the role of social networks in the phenomenon we call "globalization." This term refers to the process by which even agents who are geographically far apart come to interact, thus being able to overcome what would otherwise be a fast saturation of local opportunities. A key feature of our model is that the social network is the main channel through which agents exploit new opportunities. Therefore, only if the social network becomes global (heuristically, it "reaches far in few steps") can global interaction be steadily sustained. To shed light on the conditions under which such a transformation may, or may not, take place is the main objective of the paper. One of the main insights arising from the model is that, in order for the social network to turn global, the economy needs to display a degree of "geographical cohesion" that is neither too high (for then global opportunities simply do not arise) nor too low (then the meeting mechanism displays too little structure for the process to take off). But if globalization does materialize, we show that it is a robust state of affairs that often arises abruptly as key parameters change. This occurs, in particular, as the rate of arrival of ideas rises, or when there is a high enough increase in the range at which the network transmits information.
    Keywords: Social networks , Globalization , Search , Cooperation , Social Cohesion , Innovation
    JEL: D83 D85 C73 O17 O43
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Marina Murat
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of international students on the UK bilateral trade with 167 partner economies during 1999-2009. The base hypothesis is that transnational social networks lower the invisible trade barriers existing between countries. University students typically develop ties of friendship and trust that can last for decades after graduation and may evolve into economic and business ties. I find robust evidence that education networks boost the bilateral trade between the UK and the home countries of graduates and students. At a more disaggregated level, the strongest effects on exports and imports derive from the networks linked to the Middle East and to the new member countries of the European Union.
    Keywords: international students, higher education, networks, bilateral trade;
    JEL: I23 J24 F14 F20
    Date: 2012–11
  7. By: Andreas Nicklisch; Irenaeus Wolff
    Abstract: We experimentally show that current models of reciprocity are incomplete in a systematic way using a new variant of the ultimatum game that provides second-movers with a marginal-cost-free punishment option. For a substantial proportion of the population, the degree of first-mover unkindness determines the severity of punishment actions even when marginal costs are absent. The proportion of these participants strongly depends on a treatment variation: higher fixed costs of punishment more frequently lead to extreme responses. The fractions of purely selfish and inequity-averse participants are small and stable. Among the variety of reciprocity models, only one accommodates (rather than predicts) parts of our findings. We discuss ways of incorporating our findings into the existing models.
    Keywords: Distributional fairness, experiments, intention-based fairness, reciprocity, ultimatum bargaining
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Bernard Dussuc (EA3713 - Centre de Recherche Magellan - Université de Lyon - Université Jean Moulin - Lyon III); Sébastien Geindre (CERAG - Centre d'études et de recherches appliquées à la gestion - CNRS : UMR5820 - Université Pierre Mendès-France - Grenoble II)
    Abstract: La communication présentée porte sur une revue de la littérature sur le thème du capital social à partir de 75 articles publiés lors de la décennie écoulée (2002-2011) dans les principales revues dédiées à la recherche en PME et en entrepreneuriat. Le capital social est souvent considéré comme une ressource clé pour la PME, source de performance et d'efficacité dans la démarche entrepreneuriale. Nous montrons que les problématiques envisageables à partir du concept de capital social sont particulièrement nombreuses et diverses mais que toutefois elles reposent sur des constructions théoriques et des démarches méthodologiques très hétérogènes. Le capital social est le plus souvent utilisé comme une variable explicative de la performance de la PME ou de la démarche entrepreneuriale. Ce champ de recherche s'il peut toujours être complété parait cependant moins nécessaire aujourd'hui. Par contre, les recherches émergentes sur le capital social où celui-ci est appréhendé non plus comme une cause mais comme le résultat d'un processus managérial du dirigeant de PME ou de l'entrepreneur, s'avèrent, selon nous, plus pertinentes et porteuses de perspectives pour notre champ. Les travaux sur les effets négatifs et sclérosants du capital social sont également des pistes à creuser en matière de recherche sur les PME.
    Keywords: capital social, PME, réseaux, entreprenariat, revue de littérature
    Date: 2012

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