nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒01‒12
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. You Can’t Put Old Wine in New Bottles: The Effect of Newcomers on Coordination in Groups By McCarter, Matthew; Sheremeta, Roman
  2. Hidden Costs of Control in Social Groups By Wiederhold, Simon; Riener, Gerhard
  3. Influence of Social Networks on the entrance to foreign markets: Evidence from three Russian entrepreneurial firms By Shirokova, G. V.; Storchevoy, M. A.
  4. Diffusion and Spatial Equilibrium of a Social Norm: Voting Participation in the United States, 1920-2008 By Coleman, Stephen
  5. The Political Economy of the Syrian Crisis By Ali Kadri
  6. Group Identity and Leading-by-Example By Michalis Drouvelis; Daniele Nosenzo
  7. The Role of Social Factors in Explaining Crime By Hamzah, Siti Nur Zahara; Lau, Evan
  8. Three-Player Trust Game with Insider Communication By Sheremeta, Roman; Zhang, Jingjing

  1. By: McCarter, Matthew; Sheremeta, Roman
    Abstract: A common finding in social sciences is that member change hinders group functioning and performance. However, questions remain as to why member change negatively affects group performance and what are some ways to alleviate the negative effects of member change on performance? To answer these questions we conduct an experiment in which we investigate the effect of newcomers on a group’s ability to coordinate efficiently. Participants play a coordination game in a four-person group for the first part of the experiment, and then two members of the group are replaced with new participants, and the newly formed group plays the game for the second part of the experiment. Our results show that the arrival of newcomers decreases trust among group members and this decrease in trust negatively affects group performance. Knowing the performance history of the arriving newcomers mitigates the negative effect of their arrival, but only when newcomers also know the oldtimers performance history. Surprisingly, in groups that performed poorly prior to the newcomers’ arrival, the distrust generated by newcomers is mainly between oldtimers about each other rather than about the newcomers.
    Keywords: coordination; group performance; oldtimers; newcomers; trust; experiments
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2013–01–02
  2. By: Wiederhold, Simon; Riener, Gerhard
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role of social identity in reactions to control. We propose a simple principal-agent model with control that incorporates the existence of social groups. Our laboratory experiment shows that, in contrast to no-group agents, agents in social groups (i) perform better; (ii) expect less control; (iii) do not reciprocate when facing less control than expected; (iv) decrease their performance substantially when actual control exceeds their expectation. Hidden costs of control thus appear to be more substantial in social groups. --
    JEL: C92 M54 D03
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Shirokova, G. V.; Storchevoy, M. A.
    Abstract: The paper is devoted to the influence of the social networks on entrance to foreign markets of Russian entrepreneurial firms. Although the majority of researchers assume that social networks play a key role in the process of internationalization of small and medium enterprises, the authors made an alternative claim questioning that influence. For answering the research questions the case method was used. On the basis of analysis of three cases of Russian entrepreneurial firms we found that social networks do play a much less important role in the internationalization process than it is usually assumed in the literature. The most important factors in expanding inter-national business networks are honest business practices that establish trust and commitment in the relationships of international business partners.
    Keywords: social networks, international entrepreneurship, Russia, case study,
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Coleman, Stephen
    Abstract: Social conformity can spread social norms and behaviors through a society. This research examines such a process geographically and over time for voting, which is strongly influenced by the norm that citizens should vote. A mathematical model for the spread of voting participation under the influence of social conformity is developed based on the diffusion equation, and predictions are tested with spatial analysis of state-level voter turnout in American presidential elections from 1920 to 2008. Results show that voter turnout has converged to a stable equilibrium in its geographical distribution across the states—but it is an equilibrium that results in persistent differences at the state level. Turnout increases about one percentage point with each degree of latitude.
    Keywords: social norm; voter turnout; social conformity; spatial model; equilibrium; diffusion
    JEL: C02 D72 Z13 C21
    Date: 2012–12–31
  5. By: Ali Kadri
    Abstract: This essay investigates the subject of history or the social class that has precipitated the social disaster in Syria. The subject of history is the social force that moulds social relationships to ensure an outcome favouring its class interest. The essay follows the circuit of capital by which value veers away from the working class towards national and US-led capital. Politically, the case for collusion between the Syrian regime and US-capital is nebulous. On one hand, the regime supports radical resistance to US-imperialist hegemony. On the other, the regime, in key historical moments, constrained the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Leba-nese National Movement in 1976, encouraged sectarianism and partici-pated in the coalition of the willing in the war on Iraq.
    Date: 2012–12
  6. By: Michalis Drouvelis (Department of Economics, University of Birmingham); Daniele Nosenzo (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We study the interplay between leading-by-example and group identity in a public goods game experiment. A common identity between the leader and her followers is beneficial for cooperation: average contributions are more than 30% higher than in a treatment where no identity was induced. In two further treatments we study the effects of heterogeneous identities. We find no effect on cooperation when only part of the followers share the leader’s identity, or when followers share a common identity that differs from that of the leader. We conclude that group identity is an effective but fragile instrument to promote cooperation.
    Keywords: leading-by-example,leadership, public goods, voluntary contributions,cooperation,identity,experiment
    Date: 2012–05
  7. By: Hamzah, Siti Nur Zahara; Lau, Evan
    Abstract: Utilizing Malaysia data from 1973 to 2008, the study reveals that crime can be influenced by population, fertility, unemployment, and GDP in either the long-run or short-run period. This study also further analysed beyond sample estimations of the variables involved and found that although violent crime can be explained in the short-run only from the VECM analysis, it is found to be explained by other explanatory variables in the long-run of beyond sample for at least 50 years ahead. It is important for policy makers to focus in both social structure and economic conditions to help prevent crime in the long-run.
    Keywords: fertility; violent; property; unemployment; VECM; causality
    JEL: C32 A13 J22 K42
    Date: 2013–01–01
  8. By: Sheremeta, Roman; Zhang, Jingjing
    Abstract: We examine behavior in a three-player trust game in which the first player may invest in the second and the second may invest in the third. Any amount sent from one player to the next is tripled. The third player decides the final allocation among three players. The baseline treatment with no communication shows that the first and second players send significant amounts and the third player reciprocates. Allowing insider communication between the second and the third players increases cooperation between these two. Interestingly, there is an external effect of insider communication: the first player who is outside communication sends 54% more and receives 289% more than in the baseline treatment. As a result, insider communication increases efficiency from 44% to 68%.
    Keywords: three-player trust games; experiments; reciprocity; communication
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2013–01–02

This nep-soc issue is ©2013 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.