nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒04‒20
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. Cooperation, Trust, and Economic Development: An Experimental Study in China By Junyi Shen; Xiangdong Qin
  2. Why Weak Ties' Help and Strong Ties' Don't: Reconsidering Why Tie Strength Matters By Smith, Sandra Susan
  3. Trusting the Enemy: Confidence in the state among ex-combatants By Enzo Nussio; Ben Oppenheim
  4. Seeds of Distrust: Conflict in Uganda By Dominic Rohner; Mathias Thoenig; Fabrizio Zilibotti
  5. Networks and Favor Exchange Norms under Stochastic Costs By Seungmoon Choi; Virginie Masson; Angus Moore; Mandar Oak
  6. Family Ties By Alberto Alesina; Paola Giuliano
  7. The effects of uncertainty, trust, structure and resistance to change in the diffusion of management accounting innovations: an agent based modeling approach. By Bertrand Masquefa; Pierre Teller
  8. Low second-to-fourth digit ratio predicts indiscriminate social suspicion, not improved trustworthiness detection By Bonnefon, Jean-François; De Neys, Wim; Hopfensitz, Astrid
  9. Communitarianism, Oppositional Cultures, and Human Capital Contagion: Theory and Evidence from Formal versus Koranic Education By Dev, Pritha; Mberu, Blessing; Pongou, Roland
  10. More Trusting, Less Trust? An Investigation of Early E-Commerce in China By Hongbin Cai; Ginger Z. Jin; Chong Liu; Li-An Zhou
  11. Knowledge Networks and Their Impact on New and Small Firms in Local Economies: The Case Studies of the Autonomous Province of Trento and Magdeburg By Alessandra Proto; Simone Tani; Joerg Bühnemann; Olaf Gaus; Mathias Raith
  12. Knowledge & Innovation in Space By Karlsson, Charlie; Johansson, Börje; R. Stough, Roger
  13. Capital social y desarrollo industrial. El caso de Prato, Italia By Pablo Galaso Reca

  1. By: Junyi Shen (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan); Xiangdong Qin (School of Economics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)
    Abstract: Many previous empirical studies have suggested that cooperation and trust affect economic growth. However, the precise relationship between trust and cooperation (i.e., whether trust leads to cooperation or cooperation leads to trust) remains unclear and it is not known how the level of economic development affects the level of cooperation and trust. Using a combination of public goods experiment, gambling game experiment, and trust game experiment, we investigate the links among cooperation, trust, and economic development in four regions of China. Our results suggest that first, there is a U-shaped or V-shaped relationship between cooperation and economic development; second, on the one hand, cooperation leads to trust, and on the other hand, more cooperative behavior may be created by rewarding trusting behavior; and third, men are more cooperative and trusting than women. Furthermore, we find that the widely used 'GSS trust' question from the General Social Survey (GSS) does not predict either cooperation or trust, whereas the questions 'GSS fair' and 'GSS help' have weak predictive power for trusting behavior but not for cooperative behavior.
    Keywords: Cooperation, Trust, Economic development, Experiment, China
    JEL: C91 H41 I32
    Date: 2013–04
  2. By: Smith, Sandra Susan
    Abstract: If jobholders are more motivated to help jobseekers to whom they are strongly tied rather than those to whom they are weakly tied, why do jobholders so often help acquaintances and strangers instead of kin and friends? The strength-of-weak-ties theory holds that weak ties are more likely to be conduits for information and influence that best leads to jobs. Recent research, however, calls into question the theory’s key assumption that this is because strongties cannot act as bridges (they can). Drawing from in-depth interviews with 146 blue- and white-collar workers at a large public sector employer, in this paper I offer an alternative explanation for why weak ties matter, one rooted in cognitive and affective processes: Jobholders often know too much about their close associates’ flaws and so assess the risks of making a bad match as high. They also worry more about the implications of close associates’ failures for their own reputations.
    Keywords: Sociology, Job Seekers, Strength of Weak Ties
    Date: 2012–07–01
  3. By: Enzo Nussio (Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá)); Ben Oppenheim (University of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: War-torn societies are often racked with generalized distrust, both among citizens and between citizens and the state. Even long after conflict ends, former combatants who participated in violence and challenged the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force may have an especially unsettled relationship with the state. After demobilization, their potential relapse into armed struggle is thought to pose a severe risk to security and stability. What factors determine ex-combatants’ degree of trust in the state after their demobilization? We present the first empirical examination of this question through a survey of 1,485 former members of paramilitary and guerrilla groups in Colombia. We find limited support for social theories of trust: our analysis indicates that participation in civic and association life has no discernible impact on ex-combatants’ trust in the state. However, contrary to the warnings of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) practitioners, continuing connection between former fighters has a neutral to positive impact on trust, especially for former guerrilla. We find that intense socialization within the armed group during wartime has a corrosive impact on trust in the state, even years after demobilization. This finding suggests that the formation of “anti-social capital” may be difficult to reverse. With respect to institutional theories of trust, ex-combatants who perceive that the state performs well in important policy areas, such as the protection of civil and political rights, exhibit stronger trust. However, while conventional wisdom holds that ex-combatants are principally interested in material benefits we find no relationship between individual measures of well-being, including unemployment, and lower levels of trust in the state.
    Date: 2013–04
  4. By: Dominic Rohner; Mathias Thoenig; Fabrizio Zilibotti
    Abstract: We study the effect of civil conflict on social capital, focusing on the experience of Uganda during the last decade. Using individual and county-level data, we document large causal effects on trust and ethnic identity of an exogenous outburst of ethnic conflicts in 2002-05. We exploit two waves of survey data from Afrobarometer 2000 and 2008, including information on socioeconomic characteristics at the individual level, and geo-referenced measures of fighting events from ACLED. Our identification strategy exploits variations in the intensity of fighting both in the spatial and cross-ethnic dimensions. We find that more intense fighting decreases generalized trust and increases ethnic identity. The effects are quantitatively large and robust to a number of control variables, alternative measures of violence, and different statistical techniques involving ethnic and spatial fixed effects and instrumental variables. We also document that the post-war effects of ethnic violence depend on the ethnic fractionalization. Fighting has a negative e¤ect on the economic situation in highly fractionalized counties, but has no effect in less fractionalized counties. Our findings are consistent with the existence of a self-reinforcing process between conflicts and ethnic cleavages.
    Keywords: conflict, Uganda, seeds of distrust, ethnic conflicts, ACLED, cross-ethnic
    JEL: D74 Q34
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Seungmoon Choi (School of Economics, University of Adelaide); Virginie Masson (School of Economics, University of Adelaide); Angus Moore; Mandar Oak (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: We develop a model of favor exchange in a network setting where the cost of performing favors is stochastic. For any given favor exchange norm, we allow for the endogenous determination of the network structure via a link deletion game. We characterize the set of stable as well as equilibrium systems and show that these sets are identical. The most efficient network topology and favor exchange convention are generically shown to be not supported as equilibrium of the link deletion game. Our model provides a useful framework for understanding the topology of favor exchange networks. While the model exhibits positive externalities, its properties differ from the "information transmission" model à la Jackson and Wolinsky, as evidenced by the emergence of regular networks as opposed to star networks as stable and efficient network structures.
    JEL: D85 C78 L14 Z13
    Date: 2013–04
  6. By: Alberto Alesina; Paola Giuliano
    Abstract: We study the role of the most primitive institution in society: the family. Its organization and relationship between generations shape values formation, economic outcomes and influences national institutions. We use a measure of family ties, constructed from the World Values Survey, to review and extend the literature on the effect of family ties on economic behavior and economic attitudes. We show that strong family ties are negatively correlated with generalized trust; they imply more household production and less participation in the labor market of women, young adult and elderly. They are correlated with lower interest and participation in political activities and prefer labor market regulation and welfare systems based upon the family rather than the market or the government. Strong family ties may interfere with activities leading to faster growth, but they may provide relief from stress, support to family members and increased wellbeing. We argue that the value regarding the strength of family relationships are very persistent over time, more so than institutions like labor market regulation or welfare systems.
    JEL: J2 J6 O4 O5 Z1
    Date: 2013–04
  7. By: Bertrand Masquefa (CRIFP - Centre de Recherche en Ingénierie Financière et Finances Publiques - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS)); Pierre Teller (CRIFP - Centre de Recherche en Ingénierie Financière et Finances Publiques - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS))
    Abstract: This article considers the effects of uncertainty, structure, trust and resistance to change on the success or failure of management accounting innovations diffusion. The diffusion process is examined through a social network of nodes and ties. Ties represent communication channels through which the diffusion flows and nodes represent organizational actors who facilitate or impede the diffusion process. Trust is operationalized through strong ties and structure is modeled with the density of ties within organizational units and ties between organizational units. Uncertainty represents the degree of controversy that is often inherent to management accounting innovation and change. Initially, organizational actors can be in three possible states: adopters, detractors and non-adopters. Innovation adopters or detractors embedded in the organizational network will mobilize their own network of strong ties to convince non-adopters to adopt or reject the innovation. This research aims at exploring the effects of uncertainty, trust, structure and perception of a management accounting innovation on the likelihood of success of the diffusion process. The authors used an agent based modeling approach to simulate the behavior of organizational agents within an organizational context. The results suggest that mechanistic and organic structures are contingently conducive of success in the implementation of management accounting innovation. The likelihood of success depends on the interplay of the controversy of the innovation, the number of the initial adopters or detractors and the trusted component of network ties.
    Keywords: uncertainty, trust, structure, social networks, innovation, diffusion, management accounting, agent-based modeling
    Date: 2013–04–05
  8. By: Bonnefon, Jean-François (CLLE); De Neys, Wim (Sorbonne, Universite Paris Descartes); Hopfensitz, Astrid (TSE)
    Abstract: Testosterone administration appears to make individuals less trusting, and this effect was interpreted as an adaptive adjustment of social suspicion, that improved the accuracy of trusting decisions. Here we consider another possibility, namely that testosterone increases the subjective cost of being duped, decreasing the propensity to trust without improving the accuracy of trusting decisions. In line with this hypothesis, we show that second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D, a proxy for organising effects of testosterone in the foetus) correlates with the propensity to trust but not with the accuracy of trusting decisions. Trust game players (N=144) trusted less when they had lower 2D:4D (high prenatal testosterone), but their ability to detect the strategy of other players was constant (and better than chance) across all levels of digit ratio. Our results suggest that early prenatal organizing effects of testoterone in the foetus might impair rather than boost economic outcomes, by promoting indiscriminate social suspicion.
    Keywords: Trust – Digit Ratio – Testosterone – Strategy Detection – Betrayal Aversion
    JEL: C91 D03 D64 D87
    Date: 2013–02
  9. By: Dev, Pritha; Mberu, Blessing; Pongou, Roland
    Abstract: We analyze the implications of communitarianism-the tendency of people to organize into separate culturally homogeneous groups-for individual and group inequality in human capital accumulation. We propose a non-cooperative social interactions model where each individual decides how much time to invest in human capital versus ethnic capital, and his utility from investment in either form of capital is increasing in the investment of his ethnic group in that form of capital. We find that, in equilibrium, the demand for human capital is affected positively by individual and group ability, and negatively by group size. Moreover, two groups that are ex ante identical in ability distribution may diverge in human capital accumulation, with divergence only occurring among their low-ability members. The latter always coordinate on the same type of investment, showing a contagion or herding effect. Furthermore, we find that ethnic and group fragmentation increases the demand for human capital. We validate these predictions of the model using household data from a setting where ethnicity and religion are the primary identity cleavages. We document persistent ethnic and religious inequality in educational attainment. Members of ethnic groups that historically converted to Christianity fare better than those whose ancestors converted to Islam. Consistent with theory, there is little difference between the high-ability members of these groups, but low-ability members of historically Muslim groups choose Koranic education as an alternative to formal education. Also, the descendants of ethnic groups that were evenly exposed to both religions outperform those whose ancestors had contact with only one religion, and local ethnic fragmentation increases the demand for formal education.
    Keywords: Communitarianism, group inequality, human capital, Koranic education, contagion
    JEL: A1 A13 C7 C72 I21 J1 N3 N37
    Date: 2013–04–15
  10. By: Hongbin Cai; Ginger Z. Jin; Chong Liu; Li-An Zhou
    Abstract: Trust is vital for market development, but how can trust be enhanced in a marketplace? A common view is that more trusting may help to build trust, especially in less developed economies. In this paper, we argue that more trusting may lead to less trust. We set up a rational expectation model in which a marketplace uses buyer protection to promote buyer trusting. Our results show that buyer protection may reduce trust in equilibrium and even hinder market expansion because it triggers differential entry between honest and strategic sellers and may induce more cheating from strategic sellers. Using a large transaction-level data set from the early years of (an eBay equivalent in China), we find evidence that is consistent with the model predictions. Stronger buyer protection leads to less favorable evaluation of seller behavior and is associated with slower market expansion. These findings suggest that a trust-promoting policy aiming at buyer trusting may not be effective if it is not accompanied by additional incentives to improve seller trustworthiness.
    JEL: D8 L15 L81
    Date: 2013–04
  11. By: Alessandra Proto; Simone Tani; Joerg Bühnemann; Olaf Gaus; Mathias Raith
    Abstract: New and small firms can be important engines of job creation and local development when they identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities. We live in an economy more and more characterised by open innovation methods, where new companies and SMEs are benefitting from innovations, technological and non technological available on the market or from other companies and organisations part of their networks. Knowledge networks, understood as a three-component construction of (i) knowledge generation, (ii) knowledge transfer, and (iii) knowledge application, can play a crucial role in boosting companies performance. As many OECD researches shows, there is often a major networking gap, however, between knowledge sources in universities and research organisations and industry exploitation in new spin-off enterprises and SMEs. The analysis of the actors of the knowledge networks and the way they behave and interact with other component inside and outside the networks is a fundamental support to local policy making in entrepreneurship and innovation. <p>The OECD LEED Programme in cooperation with the University of Trento has prepared this paper to analyse in deep the behaviour of knowledge networks in two specific local contexts: the Autonomous Province of Trento in Italy and the Magdeburg Province in Germany. <p>The aim of this research project is to analyse the relevance of knowledge networks to entrepreneurship and the growth of young and small firms, the role of the different components and their interplay for network effectiveness, impeding and favouring factors, and the role of public policy.
    Date: 2012–01–31
  12. By: Karlsson, Charlie (Jönköping International Business School); Johansson, Börje (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology); R. Stough, Roger (George Mason University)
    Abstract: The purpose of this working paper is to provide a short overview of actual topics in contemporary research concerned with global, national, regional and local knowledge and innovation dynamics. In the text, we stress the importance to understand the current changes of the global and their implications for knowledge generation and innovation. Treating knowledge as a key resource for innovation shifts the focus from the innovation itself to the process of knowledge generation, transformation and diffusion, i.e. to knowledge dynamics. This necessitates integrating spatial aspects since knowledge generation and as a result, innovation exhibits a strong geographical clustering, which implies that innovation ability and innovation resources also are strongly clustered geographically in particular to urban regions. The role of interaction and proximity for knowledge generation and innovation is highlighted and instead it is stressed that relational, cognitive, organizational, social and institutional proximities are not substitutes or complements to spatial proximity but that they are all functions of the prevailing spatial proximity. Another important factor for interaction is social capital, which by fostering trust makes information and knowledge to diffuse faster.
    Keywords: Knowledge; innovation; proximity; knowledge economy; knowledge dynamics; knowledge networks; innovation ability; innovation resources; globalization; agglomeration; face-to-face interaction; urban regions; social capital
    JEL: O31 O32 O33 R12
    Date: 2013–04–12
  13. By: Pablo Galaso Reca (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
    Abstract: Este artículo estudia los rasgos distintivos del capital social en la provincia de Prato (Italia), así como su papel en el nacimiento y posterior desarrollo de su distrito industrial. Para ello, se basa en múltiples investigaciones previas sobre dicha región, analizando sus resultados desde la óptica de las teorías del capital social. Las conclusiones muestran que el capital social desempeñó un rol fundamental en distintos momentos de la historia pratense, permitiendo que desarrollara con éxito el modelo característico de los distritos industriales.
    Keywords: capital social, distritos industriales, desarrollo local, industria textil.
    JEL: L67 L25
    Date: 2013–12–04

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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