nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒04‒13
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. A different look at Lenin's legacy: Social capital and risk taking in the two Germanies By Heineck, Guido; Süssmuth, Bernd
  2. Sociability, Altruism and Subjective Well-Being By Leonardo Becchetti; Luisa Corrado; Pierluigi Conzo
  3. Dynamic Scenarios of Trust Establishment in the Public Cloud Service Market By Soyoung Kim; Junseok Hwang; Jorn Altmann
  4. Sociability is like skiing: multiple equilibria in education, sociability and life satisfaction By Becchetti, Leonardo; Solferino , Nazaria; Tessitore, M. Elisabetta
  5. Mutual Altruism: Evidence from Alzheimer Patients and Their Spouse Caregivers By König, Markus; Pfarr, Christian; Zweifel, Peter
  6. The Transmission of Democracy: From the Village to the Nation-State By Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
  7. Peer Effects: Social Multiplier or Social Norms? By Liu, Xiaodong; Patacchini, Eleonora; Zenou, Yves
  8. Confirming Information Flows in Networks By Billand, Pascal; Bravard, Christophe; Kamphorst, Jurjen J.A.; Sarangi, Sudipta
  9. Macroculture, Athletics and Democracy in ancient Greece By Economou, Emmanouel/Marios/Lazaros; Kyriazis, Nicholas
  10. Invisible Discrimination: Employers & Social Media Sites By Pate, Richard
  11. Do large departments make academics more productive? Agglomeration and peer effects in research By Bosquet, Clément; Combes, Pierre-Philippe
  12. Do Institutions and Culture Matter for Business Cycles? By Altug, Sumru G.; Canova, Fabio

  1. By: Heineck, Guido; Süssmuth, Bernd
    Abstract: What are the long-term effects of Communism on economically relevant notions such as social trust, fairness, and scope of cooperation? To answer this question, we study the post-unification trajectory of convergence between East and West German individuals with regard to trust, cooperation, and risk. Our hypotheses are derived from a model of German unification that incorporates individual responses both to incentives and to values inherited from earlier generations as recently suggested in the literature. Using two waves of balanced panel data, we find that despite twenty years of unification East Germans are still characterized by a persistent level of social distrust. In comparison to West Germans, they are less inclined to see others as cooperative. East Germans are also found to have been more risk loving than West Germans. However, risk attitudes fully converged recently. --
    Keywords: Social trust,Risk Attitudes,Political Regimes,German Unification
    JEL: P51 Z13
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Luisa Corrado (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Pierluigi Conzo (University of Turin)
    Abstract: We provide non experimental evidence of the relevance of sociability on subjective wellbeing by investigating the determinants of life satisfaction on a large sample of Europeans aged above 50. We document that voluntary work, religious attendance, helping friends/neighbours and participation to community-related organizations affect positively and significantly life satisfaction. We illustrate the different impact that some sociability variables have on eudaimonic versus cognitive measures of subjective wellbeing. Our empirical findings discriminate among other regarding and self-regarding preferences as rationales explaining such behaviour. We document that different combinations between actions and motivations have different impact on life satisfaction thereby providing support for the relevance of these specific “contingent goods” and to the literature of procedural utility. Our findings are confirmed in robustness checks including refinements of the dependent variable, instrumental variables and sensitivity analysis on departures from the exogeneity assumption.
    Keywords: sociability, altruism, other-regarding activities, other regarding motivations, life satisfaction, subjective well-being.
    JEL: A13 D13 D64
    Date: 2013–03–29
  3. By: Soyoung Kim (Technology Opportunity Research Team, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information); Junseok Hwang (TEMEP, College of Engineering, Seoul National University); Jorn Altmann (TEMEP, College of Engineering, Seoul National University)
    Abstract: The adoption of the public cloud by firms and individuals has been slowed because of the lack of trust. This research seeks the rules of trust establishment between the public cloud providers and users through signaling game theory, analyses dynamic scenarios in which the pervasive distrust arises, and suggests policy guidelines. The theoretical analysis results suggest that the most critical task is to make a pool of trustworthy public cloud service providers to establish an efficient market. The results also show that prudent policy design is desirable. Specific case studies and simulations will be conducted as further studies.
    Keywords: Public Cloud Computing, Trust, Signaling, Equilibrium, Dynamic.
    JEL: C02 C61 C7 D81 L14 L22 L86
    Date: 2012–06
  4. By: Becchetti, Leonardo (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Solferino , Nazaria (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Tessitore, M. Elisabetta (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: Empirical evidence documents that other regarding activities (voluntary/charity work, helping friends/neighbours) done with other regarding motivations contribute positively and signi cantly to subjective wellbeing. The question is why only a re- stricted group of people performs these activities with such motivations if doing so adds up to satisfaction in life. We develop a model in which individual's utility grows in the consumption of a stimulus" goods which may however be enjoyed only with a su cient level of investment in civic capital. The stimulus good (a contingent good produced by the interaction of an action with a motivation) is represented by the perfor- mance of other regarding activities with other regarding motivations and civic capital may be accumulated through education. The model has multiple equilibria since more patient individuals accumulate along their lives enough civic capital which allows them to enjoy such goods. Less patient individuals do not accumulate enough civic capital and therefore cannot enjoy performing these activities even if they observe others doing so. We test our theoretical predictions by comparing a group of Europeans aged above 50 who performs other regarding activities with other regarding motivations with a group of the same age which does not perform such activities. Parametric and non parametric tests document that the rst group has signi cantly more schooling years coupled with higher cognitive and eudaimonic life satisfaction. Our results are robust to several checks among which health shocks, variations in local social norms and con- sistent with the procedural utility hypothesis arguing that not only outcome but also all other circumstances of action matter for subjective wellbeing.
    Keywords: sociability; education; life satisfaction
    JEL: A13 D13 D64
    Date: 2013–03–27
  5. By: König, Markus; Pfarr, Christian; Zweifel, Peter
    Abstract: Background: Preferences of both Alzheimer patients and their spouse caregivers are related to a willingness-to-pay (WTP) measure which is used to test for the presence of mutual (rather than conventional unilateral) altruism. Methods: Contingent valuation experiments were conducted in 2000 – 2002, involving 126 Alzheimer patients and their caregiving spouses living in the Zurich metropolitan area (Switzerland). WTP values for three hypothetical treatments of the demented patient were elicited. The treatment Stabilization prevents the worsening of the disease, bringing dementia to a standstill. Cure restores patient health to its original level. In No burden, dementia takes its normal course while caregiver’s burden is reduced to its level before the disease. Results: The three different types of therapies are reflected in different WTP values of both caregivers and patients, suggesting that moderate levels of Alzheimer’s disease still permit clear expression of preference. According to the WTP values found, patients do not rank Cure higher than No burden, implying that their preferences are entirely altruistic. Caregiving spouses rank Cure before Burden, reflecting less than perfect altruism which accounts for some 40 percent of their to-tal WTP. Still, this constitutes evidence of mutual altruism. Conclusions: The evidence suggests that WTP values reflect individuals’ preferences even in Alzheimer patients. The values found suggest that an economically successful treatment should provide relief to caregivers, with its curative benefits being of secondary importance.
    Keywords: willingness-to-pay; dementia; altruism
    JEL: C93 D03 I10
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
    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
  7. By: Liu, Xiaodong; Patacchini, Eleonora; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: We develop an unified model embedding different behavioral mechanisms of social interactions and design a statistical model selection test to discriminate between them in empirical applications. This framework is applied to study peer effects in education and delinquent behavior for adolescents in the United States. We find that there are strong social multiplier effects in crime while, for education, social norms matter the most. This suggests that, for crime, individual-based policies are more appropriate while, for education, group-based policies are more effective.
    Keywords: group-based policy.; individual-based policy; Social networks; spatial autoregressive model
    JEL: A14 D85 Z13
    Date: 2013–02
  8. By: Billand, Pascal; Bravard, Christophe; Kamphorst, Jurjen J.A.; Sarangi, Sudipta
    Abstract: Social networks, be it on the internet or in real life, facilitate information flows. We model this by giving agents incentives to link with others and receive information through those links. We consider networks where agents have an incentive to confirm the information they receive from others. Our paper analyzes the social networks that are formed. We first study the existence of Nash equilibria and then characterize the set of strict Nash networks. Next, we characterize the set of strictly efficient networks and discuss the relationship between strictly efficient networks and strict Nash networks. Finally, we check the robustness of our results by allowing for heterogeneity among agents, possibility of bilateral deviations of agents, and decay in the network.
    Keywords: connections model, confirmation, two-way flow models.
    JEL: C72 D85
    Date: 2013–04
  9. By: Economou, Emmanouel/Marios/Lazaros; Kyriazis, Nicholas
    Abstract: In the present essay we examine whether and how sports affected the emergence of democracy as a political phenomenon in Classical Greece. To achieve this we introduce in a model the concept of macroculture as a complex of mutually supporting values, norms and beliefs in various areas of human activity, like athletics, war, politics, etc. Then, we proceed through a historical review on the history of sports in Ancient Greece and we investigate various aspects of how and under which terms athletics performed during classical Greece, predominantly, in ancient Athens. We found that the values that gradually emerged through sports during an extended period that goes back as far as the Bronze Age times, led to the development of an environment of mutually supporting norms and values such as equality and trust, that by being correlated and coordinated each other, led to the creation of new values and norms, as the theory of macroculture proposes. We also found that these new values were “diffused” from athletics to the field of politics and played a key role to the emergence of democracy.
    Keywords: Macroculture, sports, democracy, Classical Greece.
    JEL: D71 I28 Z13
    Date: 2012–05–08
  10. By: Pate, Richard (John F. Welch College of Business, Sacred Heart University)
    Abstract: With the advent and popularity of social networks sites, the boundaries of the relationship between the employer-employee/prospective employee have stretched well beyond the work-place and work-hours. Predictably, this relationship expansion has led to unchartered adversarial scenarios between the respective parties. Unfortunately, in this new, vibrant cyber world, traditional employment law considerations are struggling for deference and rumination. Notwithstanding this ostensible indifference, each phase of the relationship is heavily impacted by social network media. Applicant recruitment, information gathering and applicant selection stand to be impacted by the social network communications made by employees or prospective employees. This article examines whether present and proposed law protects employeesÕ and prospective employeesÕ rights from potential, unlawful discrimination resulting from the employerÕs use of social media in its applicant recruitment, information gathering and applicant selections processes.
    Keywords: Discrimination, Employment Law, Facebook
    JEL: J71 K31
    Date: 2012–11
  11. By: Bosquet, Clément; Combes, Pierre-Philippe
    Abstract: We study the effect of a large set of department characteristics on individual publication records. We control for many individual time-varying characteristics, individual fixed-effects and reverse causality. Department characteristics have an explanatory power that can be as high as that of individual characteristics. The departments that generate most externalities are those where academics are homogeneous in terms of publication performance and have diverse research fields, and, to a lesser extent, large departments, with more women, older academics, star academics and foreign co-authors. Department specialisation in a field also favours publication in that field. More students per academic does not penalise publication. At the individual level, women and older academics publish less, while the average publication quality increases with average number of authors per paper, individual field diversity, number of published papers and foreign co-authors.
    Keywords: economic geography; economics of science; networks; productivity determinants; selection and endogeneity
    JEL: I3 J24 R12
    Date: 2013–03
  12. By: Altug, Sumru G.; Canova, Fabio
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between macroeconomic, institutional, and cultural indicators and cyclical fluctuations for European, Middle Eastern and North African Mediterranean countries. Mediterranean cycles are different from EU cycles: the duration of expansions is shorter; the amplitude and the output costs of recessions are larger; and cyclical synchronization is smaller. Differences in macroeconomic and institutional indicators partly account for the relative differences in cyclical synchronization. By contrast, differences in cultural indicators account for relative differences in the persistence, the volatility and the synchronization of cyclical fluctuations. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Business cycles; institutions and culture; Mediterranean countries; synchronization.
    JEL: C32 E32
    Date: 2013–03

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