nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2012‒12‒06
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. Social Networks and Labor Market Inequality between Ethnicities and Races By Ott Toomet; Marco van der Leij; Meredith Rolfe
  2. Does workplace social capital moderate the associations between job stressors and psychological distress? A cross-sectional analysis among Japanese workers By Oshio, Takashi; Inoue, Akiomi; Tsutsumi, Akizumi
  3. Yoga beyond wellness: Meditation, trust and cooperation By Di Bartolomeo Giovanni; Papa Stefano; Bellomo Saverio
  4. The triadic design to identify trust and reciprocity: Extensions and robustness By Di Bartolomeo Giovanni; Papa Stefano
  5. Trust, Values and False Consensus By Butler, Jeff; Giuliano, Paola; Guiso, Luigi
  6. You Owe Me By Malmendier, Ulrike; Schmidt, Klaus M.
  7. Nobody Likes a Rat: On the Willingness and Consequences of Reporting Lies By Reuben, Ernesto; Stephenson, Matt
  8. Modes of Collective Action in Village Economies: Evidence from Natural and Artefactual Field Experiments in a Developing Country By Sawada, Yasuyuki; Kasahara, Ryuji; Aoyagi, Keitaro; Shoji, Masahiro; Ueyama, Mika
  9. Social Preferences and Environmental quality: Evidence from School Children in Sierra Leone By Giovanna d’Adda; Ian Levely
  10. On the Nature of Reciprocity: Evidence from the Ultimatum Reciprocity Measure By Andreas Nicklisch; Irenaeus Wolff

  1. By: Ott Toomet (Tartu University); Marco van der Leij (University of Amsterdam); Meredith Rolfe (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the relationship between unexplained racial/ethnic wage differentials on the one hand and social network segregation, as measured by inbreeding homophily, on the other hand. Our analysis is based on both U.S. and Estonian surveys, supplemented with Estonian telephone communication data. In case of Estonia we consider the regional variation in economic performance of the Russian minority, and in the U.S. case we consider the regional variation in black-white differentials. Our analysis finds a strong relationship between the size of the differential and network segregation: regions with more segregated social networks exhibit larger unexplained wage gaps.
    Keywords: social networks; wage differential; homophily; segregation; race; minorities
    JEL: J71 J31 Z13
    Date: 2012–11–13
  2. By: Oshio, Takashi; Inoue, Akiomi; Tsutsumi, Akizumi
    Abstract: Previous studies have shown that workplace social capital (WSC) affects workers' health, but its role as a moderator of the associations between job stressors and health outcomes has been largely understudied. The current study investigated whether and to what extent WSC moderates the associations between job stressors and psychological distress among Japanese workers. We used cross-sectional data (N = 9,350) collected from a baseline survey of an occupational cohort study (Japanese Study of Health, Occupation, and Psychosocial Factors Related Equity; J-HOPE) conducted among the employees of 12 companies/organizations in Japan. We focused on the bonding and horizontal aspects of WSC at the individual level, considering job demands/control, effort/reward, and two types of organizational justice (procedural and interactional justice) as job stressors. We defined psychological distress as scoring ≥5 on the K6 scale. Our multilevel, multivariate logit models showed that individual-level WSC moderated the associations of psychological distress with high job demands, high effort, and low interactional justice, but not those with low job control, reward, or procedural justice. We also observed a moderation effect of dichotomized WSC only with a higher cutoff point for high WSC. These results suggest that WSC selectively moderates the associations between job stressors and mental health and that it works as a moderator only at sufficiently high levels.
    Keywords: Workplace social capital, Psychological distress, Job strain, Effort-reward imbalance, Procedural justice, Interactional justice
    Date: 2012–11
  3. By: Di Bartolomeo Giovanni; Papa Stefano; Bellomo Saverio
    Abstract: Our research aims to find out whether meditation has a positive impact on trust and cooperation. By comparing the behavior of agents exposed to meditation before playing an investment game to others not exposed, we find that the formers show more trust on average than the latters. Meditation seems to reduce risk aversion and “competitiveness” among people inducing agents to behave in a more cooperative (and efficient) way.
    Keywords: Other-regarding preferences, trust, reciprocity, investment game, frame effect, polarization, meditation
    JEL: D03 C91 D83
    Date: 2012–11
  4. By: Di Bartolomeo Giovanni; Papa Stefano
    Abstract: Our paper reconsiders the triadic design proposed by Cox (2004) to identify trust and reciprocity in investment games. Specifically, we extend the design in two directions. First, we elicit expectations by a fixed-fee incentive scheme and test the coherence of them with the triadic outcomes. We expect that if trust is reported by the triadic design, investors’ expected gains should be also observed. Second, we collect information about participants’ choices by using both direct-response (as Cox) and strategy method. By the latter we are able to control reciprocity for initial inequality, which is endogenous when reciprocity is investigated. Finally, we test the existence of an emotional bias, i.e. we test if expectations mismatches induce participant to change actual choices from the planned ones.
    Keywords: Conditional and unconditional motivations, other-regarding preferences, trust, reciprocity, investment game, expectation, inequality, strategy method
    JEL: D03 C91 D83
    Date: 2012–11
  5. By: Butler, Jeff; Giuliano, Paola; Guiso, Luigi
    Abstract: Trust beliefs are heterogeneous across individuals and, at the same time, persistent across generations. We investigate one mechanism yielding these dual patterns: false consensus. In the context of a trust game experiment, we show that individuals extrapolate from their own type when forming trust beliefs about the same pool of potential partners - i.e., more (less) trustworthy individuals form more optimistic (pessimistic) trust beliefs - and that this tendency continues to color trust beliefs after several rounds of game-play. Moreover, we show that one's own type/trustworthiness can be traced back to the values parents transmit to their children during their upbringing. In a second closely-related experiment, we show the economic impact of mis-calibrated trust beliefs stemming from false consensus. Miscalibrated beliefs lower participants' experimental trust game earnings by about 20 percent on average.
    Keywords: culture; false consensus; trust; trustworthiness
    JEL: A1 A12 D1 Z1
    Date: 2012–11
  6. By: Malmendier, Ulrike; Schmidt, Klaus M.
    Abstract: In many cultures and industries gifts are given in order to influence the recipient, often at the expense of a third party. Examples include business gifts of firms and lobbyists. In a series of experiments, we show that, even without incentive or informational effects, small gifts strongly influence the recipient’s behavior in favor of the gift giver, in particular when a third party bears the cost. Subjects are well aware that the gift is given to influence their behavior but reciprocate nevertheless. Withholding the gift triggers a strong negative response. These findings are inconsistent with the most prominent models of social preferences. We propose an extension of existing theories to capture the observed behavior by endogenizing the “reference group†to whom social preferences are applied. We also show that disclosure and size limits are not effective in reducing the effect of gifts, consistent with our model. Financial incentives ameliorate the effect of the gift but backfire when available but not provided.
    Keywords: Gift exchange; externalities; lobbyism; corruption; reciprocity; social preferences
    JEL: C91 D73 I11
    Date: 2012–11
  7. By: Reuben, Ernesto (Columbia University); Stephenson, Matt (Columbia University)
    Abstract: We investigate the intrinsic motivation of individuals to report, and thereby sanction, fellow group members who lie for personal gain. We further explore the changes in lying and reporting behavior that result from giving individuals a say in who joins their group. We find that enough individuals are willing to report lies such that in fixed groups lying is unprofitable. However, we also find that when groups can select their members, individuals who report lies are generally shunned, even by groups where lying is absent. This facilitates the formation of dishonest groups where lying is prevalent and reporting is nonexistent.
    Keywords: lying, lying aversion, whistleblowing, social norms, dishonesty
    JEL: D03 K42 M42 M14 C92
    Date: 2012–11
  8. By: Sawada, Yasuyuki; Kasahara, Ryuji; Aoyagi, Keitaro; Shoji, Masahiro; Ueyama, Mika
    Abstract: In a canonical model of collective action, individual contribution to collective action is negatively correlated with group size. Empirical evidence on the group size effect has been mixed, partly due to heterogeneities in group activities. In this paper, we first construct a simple general model of collective action with the free-riding problem, altruism, public goods, and positive externalities of social networks. We then empirically test the theoretical implications of group size effect on individual contribution to four different types of collective action, i.e., monetary or nonmonetary contribution to directly or indirectly productive activities. To achieve this, we collect and employ artefactual field experimental data such as public goods and dictator games conducted in southern Sri Lanka under a natural experimental situation where the majority of farmers were relocated to randomly selected communities based on the government lottery. This unique situation enables us to identify the causal effects of community size on collective action. We find that the levels of collective action can be explained by the social preferences of farmers; we show evidence on the free-riding by self-interested households with no land holdings. The pattern of collective action, however, differs significantly by the mode of activities; the collective action which is directly related to production is less likely to suffer from the free rider problem than from indirectly productive activities. Finally, the monetary contribution is less likely to cause the free riding than the non-monetary contribution.
    Keywords: collective action , social preference , natural and artefactual field experiment , irrigation , South Asia
    Date: 2012–09–03
  9. By: Giovanna d’Adda (University of Birmingham, Department of Economics); Ian Levely (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the effects that variations in the quality of the environment at birth have on children’s other-regarding preferences, as measured through four binary-choice dictator games run with school-age children in rural Sierra Leone. We examine the effect of exogenous variations in rainfall level by location and year on children’s social preferences. We also study how age at which children had access to improved water sources, such as protected wells, correlates with preferences. Children born within a healthier environment are more generous, when generosity comes at no personal cost, more likely to choose socially efficient allocations and less averse to advantageous inequality. The correlation between rainfall shocks at birth and children’s height-for-age suggest that environmental quality affects preferences through its impact on health. We find that proxies for early childhood health affect experimental outcomes in a similar way as age, which helps to explain the process by which individuals develop social preferences. No significant relationship is found in our data between environmental quality and educational outcomes, such as school attendance and grades.
    Keywords: Field experiments, Health and Economic Development, Altruism, Inequality Aversion
    JEL: C93 I15 D64
    Date: 2012–09
  10. By: Andreas Nicklisch (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Bonn, Germany); Irenaeus Wolff (Thurgau Institute of Economics at the University of Konstanz, Department of Economics, Germany)
    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
    JEL: C91 D03 D63
    Date: 2012–11–19

This nep-soc issue is ©2012 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.