nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒02‒03
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. Missing links, missing markets: Internal exchanges, reciprocity and external connections in the economic networks of Gambian villages By Jaimovich, Dany
  2. On changes in general trust in Europe By Javier Olivera
  3. A social network analysis of Islamic terrorism and the Malian rebellion By WALTHER Olivier; CHRISTOPOULOS Dimitris
  4. The Transmission of Democracy: From the Village to the Nation-State By Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
  5. An Exceptional Nation? American Political Values in Comparative Perspective By Karabel, Jerome; Laurison, Daniel
  6. Where do people meet their first sexual partner and their first life partner? By Michel Bozon; Wilfried Rault
  7. Charitable Giving as a Signal of Trustworthiness: Disentangling the Signaling Benefits of Altruistic Acts By Fehrler, Sebastian; Przepiorka, Wojtek
  8. Social Capital in Decline: Friendly Societies in Australia, 1850-1914 By Arthur Downing
  9. When to Favour Your Own group? The Threats of Costly Punishments and In-group Favouritism By Donna Harris; Benedikt Herrmann
  10. The Impacts of Social Networks on Immigrants’ Employment Prospects: The Spanish Case 1997-2007 By Luciana Méndez Errico
  11. Coalitions, tipping points and the speed of evolution By Newton, Jonathan
  12. Neighborhood Quality and Student Performance By Weinhardt, Felix

  1. By: Jaimovich, Dany
    Abstract: A unique dataset of social and economic networks collected in 60 rural Gambian villages is used to study the ways in which households with links outside the village (that are considered as a proxy for market connections) behave in the locally available exchange networks for land, labor, input and credit. Using measures gleaned from the social network analysis literature, the econometric results at both household and link (dyadic) level provide evidence of: (i) substitutability between internal and external links, and (ii) substitutability between internal reciprocation and external links. These findings provide support for the transformation process of primitive economies described in a long tradition of anthropological work as well as recent theoretical models.
    Keywords: Social Networks; Missing markets; Gift economy; Economic Anthropology; West Africa
    JEL: Z13 C31 O12
    Date: 2013–01
  2. By: Javier Olivera (UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the determinants of trust in a pool of 33 European countries over the period 2002-2010. We find that income inequality is negatively related with trust when we analyse pooled data of individuals, which is a well established result if one focuses on crosscountry differences. But, this relation vanishes when we estimate a fixed effects model with the data collapsed by country and year. Omitted variables may account for the significant and negative relationship between economic inequality and trust at the cross-sectional level. In contrast, we find a sizeable, negative and significant effect of the share of persons from minority ethnic groups on trust. This result is found in different specifications for the trust index and distribution of trust.
    Keywords: Trust, Income Inequality, Europe, Social Attitudes
    JEL: D31 D63 Z13
    Date: 2013–01–28
  3. By: WALTHER Olivier; CHRISTOPOULOS Dimitris
    Abstract: Using social network analysis, our first aim is to illuminate the relationships between the Islamists and the rebels involved in the Malian conflict. We use a selection of newspaper articles to demonstrate that the connection between Islamists and rebels depends on brokers who passed from the Tuareg rebellion to radical groups. Our second objective is to detail the internal relationships within each of the subgroups. Our findings show how Islamists were affected by the accidental disappearance of one the AQMI regional emirs and how the death of one of the architects of the Tuareg rebellion affected rebel cohesion.
    Keywords: terrorism; Islamist; Tuareg rebellion; social network analysis; Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb; Sahel; Sahara
    Date: 2012–11
  4. By: Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles); Nunn, Nathan (Harvard University)
    Abstract: We provide evidence that a history of democracy at the local level is associated with contemporary democracy at the national level. Auxiliary estimates show that a tradition of local democracy is also associated with attitudes that favor democracy, with better quality institutions, and higher level of economic development.
    Keywords: democracy, historical persistence, local institutions
    JEL: N30 P0 Z1
    Date: 2013–01
  5. By: Karabel, Jerome; Laurison, Daniel
    Abstract: This paper compares the political values and viewpoints of Americans with those of citizens of 19 other wealthy democracies. Drawing on the long history of scholarship and debate about “American Exceptionalism,†we ask whether Americans’ positions on issues of governance, taxation, equality, religion, and morality are significantly different from those of people in comparable countries in Europe and elsewhere. Using data from the International Social Survey Program’s Role of Government survey, the World Values Survey, and other sources, we show that, on almost all of these questions, Americans’ views are on average substantially to the right of those of people in our comparison countries: Americans are less supportive of redistribution and government intervention in the economy, are more likely to blame poverty on the failings of the poor, and are by far more religious. These findings confirm that Americans are on the whole more right-leaning than Europeans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and the Japanese.
    Keywords: Sociology, American Exceptionalism, Comparative Political Values
    Date: 2012–12–05
  6. By: Michel Bozon (Ined); Wilfried Rault (Ined)
    Abstract: In France, people no longer find their first life partner as they did in the 1960s. Public dances and the neighbourhood are now much less frequent meeting places, while parties with friends (18%), the place of study 15%), public places (15%) and nightclubs and discotheques (11%) have grown in popularity. Despite the development of the electronic media in the 2000s, the Internet does not appear to play a major role in young people's search for their first life partner. Moreover, the first sexual partner today is generally not the first life partner. The place of study is the most frequent setting for meeting the first sexual partner, more often for men than for women (39% versus 25%). However, more women than men meet their first sexual partner at a party with friends (15% versus 10%). The settings of daily living (school, work, public places and neighbourhood) account for more than 60% of encounters for men, versus less than 50% for women. The higher a person's level of education, the greater the likelihood that he or she will meet the first sexual partner in a place of study (generally at school). For the low educated, meetings in public places and at places that offer dancing are more comm
    Date: 2013
  7. By: Fehrler, Sebastian (University of Zurich); Przepiorka, Wojtek (Nuffield College, Oxford)
    Abstract: It has been shown that psychological predispositions to benefit others can motivate human cooperation and the evolution of such social preferences can be explained with kin or multi-level selection models. It has also been shown that cooperation can evolve as a costly signal of an unobservable quality that makes a person more attractive with regard to other types of social interactions. Here we show that if a proportion of individuals with social preferences is maintained in the population through kin or multi-level selection, cooperative acts that are truly altruistic can be a costly signal of social preferences and make altruistic individuals more trustworthy interaction partners in social exchange. In a computerized laboratory experiment, we test whether altruistic behavior in the form of charitable giving is indeed correlated with trustworthiness and whether a charitable donation increases the observing agents' trust in the donor. Our results support these hypotheses and show that, apart from trust, responses to altruistic acts can have a rewarding or outcome-equalizing purpose. Our findings corroborate that the signaling benefits of altruistic acts that accrue in social exchange can ease the conditions for the evolution of social preferences.
    Keywords: altruism, evolution of cooperation, costly signaling, social preferences, trust, trustworthiness
    JEL: C72 C92 H41
    Date: 2013–01
  8. By: Arthur Downing
    Abstract: Participation in ‘friendly societies’ (or other cooperative organisations) is often used as proxy for measuring the stock of social capital. This is too simplistic. Friendly societies underwent radical changes over the nineteenth century and contemporaries regularly demoaned that sociability, member participation and conviviality had been in steady decline over the second half of the century. This paper investigates the social relations between friendly society members. Part one looks at the importance of lynchpin ‘social capitalists’ in the functioning of lodges. Parts two and three examine how lodges generated social capital and how they relied on social network ties between members to function. Part four applies network analysis to proposition books to assess ‘intra’ lodge relationships between members. As friendly societies grew in size they became more business like. In turn the emphasis shifted from sociability and conviviality to insurance provision. In the process social capital was squandered, but the welfare function of these organisations was temporarily safeguarded. 
    Date: 2012–10–02
  9. By: Donna Harris; Benedikt Herrmann
    Abstract: Using a laboratory experiment with minimal groups, we examined the extent to which the threats of costly punishments affect in-group favouritism behaviour. We studied three types of punishment separately: in-group, out-group, and third-party punishments. In line with previous studies, the majority of the allocators favoured their own group by allocating more money to each of the in-group members at the expense of the out-group in the baseline without punishment. In the in-group punishment treatment, we observed a slight increase in in-group favouritism behaviour. On the contrary, when only the out-group could punish the allocators, there was a significant drop in in-group favouritism behaviour as well as an increase in the equal division option. Finally, when faced with an independent third-party punisher the allocators continued to favour their own group. The threat of third-party punishment appeared to have no effect on their decisions. Our paper contributes to the literature on in-group favouritism and the nature of social norms by showing that the decision whether to favour one’s own group is affected by the threats of in-group and out-group punishments and whether it leads to an increase or decrease in this behaviour depends on who has the punishment power. Parochial or in-group biased norm was enforced by the in-group members, whilst ‘egalitarian sharing norm’ (across groups) was enforced by the out-group members. We conclude firstly that people apply different ‘self-serving’ social norms depending on their own group identity. Secondly, unlike selfish or opportunistic behaviours, independent third-parties, who only observed this behaviour but were not directly affected by it, were not willing to punish this behaviour. 
    Keywords: In-group favouritism, Group behaviour, Social identity, Social norm, In-group punishment, Out-group punishment, Third-party punishment, Favour game
    JEL: D70 D73 C92
    Date: 2012–11–02
  10. By: Luciana Méndez Errico (Departament d'Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This paper studies the extent to which social networks influence the employment stability and wages of immigrants in Spain. By doing so, I consider an aspect that has not been previously addressed in the empirical literature, namely the connection between immigrants’ social networks and labor market outcomes in Spain. For this purpose, I use micro-data from the National Immigrant Survey carried out in 2007. The analysis is conducted in two stages. First, the impact of social networks on the probability of keeping the first job obtained in Spain is studied through a multinomial logit regression. Second, quantile regressions are used to estimate a wage equation. The empirical results suggest that once the endogeneity problem has been accounted for, immigrants’ social networks influence their labor market outcomes. On arrival, immigrants experience a mismatch in the labor market. In addition, different effects of social networks on wages by gender and wage distribution are found. While contacts on arrival and informal job access mechanisms positively influence women’s wages, a wage penalty is observed for men.
    Keywords: Immigration, Labor market, Social Networks, Quantile regression, Semi-parametric estimations
    JEL: J15 J31 J61 C15
    Date: 2013–01
  11. By: Newton, Jonathan
    Abstract: This study considers pure coordination games on networks and the waiting time for an adaptive process of strategic change to achieve efficient coordination. Although it is in the interest of every player to coordinate on a single globally efficient norm, coalitional behavior at a local level can greatly slow, as well as hasten convergence to efficiency. For some networks, parameter values exist at which the effect of coalitional behavior changes abruptly from a conservative effect to a reforming effect. These effects are confirmed for a variety of stylized and empirical social networks found in the literature. For coordination games in which the Pareto efficient and risk dominant equilibria differ, polymorphic states can be the only stochastically stable states.
    Keywords: social networks; networks; conservatism; reform; social norm; coalition; learning; Stochastic stability; Evolution
    Date: 2013–01
  12. By: Weinhardt, Felix (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Children who grow up in deprived neighborhoods underperform at school and later in life but whether there is a causal link remains contested. This study estimates the effect of very deprived neighborhoods, characterized by a high density of social housing, on the educational attainment of fourteen years old students in England. To identify the causal impact, this study exploits the timing of moving into these neighborhoods. I argue that the timing can be taken as exogenous because of long waiting lists for social housing in high-demand areas. Using this approach, I find no evidence for effects on student performance.
    Keywords: neighborhood effects, housing policy
    JEL: J18 I21 J24
    Date: 2013–01

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.
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