nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒06‒16
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. Classification of Social economy organizations By Edith Archambault
  2. Institutional Quality, Culture, and Norms of Cooperation: Evidence from a Behavioral Field Experiment By Alessandra Cassar; Giovanna d'Adda; Pauline Grosjean
  3. A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed: Theory and Evidence on the (Dis)Advantages of Informal Loans By Alexander Karaivanov; Anke Kessler
  4. Inequality and Growth: The Role of Beliefs and Culture By Strieborny, Martin
  5. Peer Discipline and the Strength of Organizations By David K Levine; Salvatore Modica
  6. Waste Prevention and Social Preferences: The Role of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations By Grazia Cecere; Susanna Mancinelli; Massimiliano Mazzanti
  7. Democracy, Dictatorship and the Cultural Transmission of Political Values By Davide Ticchi; Thierry Verdier; Andrea Vindigni
  8. Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control By Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.; Riener, Gerhard; Wollbrant, Conny
  9. Good News, Bad News, and Social Image: The Market for Charitable Giving By Luigi Butera; Jeffrey Horn
  10. Politics 2.0: The Multifaceted Effect of Broadband Internet on Political Participation By Campante, Filipe; Durante, Ruben; Sobbrio, Francesco
  11. Religious diversity, intolerance and civil conflict By Joseph Flavian Gomes

  1. By: Edith Archambault (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: International standard classifications were built to simplify the complex world of the business sector and analyse the international exchange of goods. Therefore they are less fitted to the classification of social economy organizations(SEO) and provision of services. Firstly this chapter examines where SEO are in these classifications and what are their interest and drawbacks . Secondly it tries to go beyond this standardisation to give a framework of the role of SEO to create social ties and their impact on the whole society
    Keywords: social economy; social economy organizations; volunteering; national accounts; ISIC, CPC; ICNPO: COPNI; ISCO; E.Ostrom; J.Gadrey
    Date: 2013–06–07
  2. By: Alessandra Cassar (University of San Francisco); Giovanna d'Adda (University opf Birmingham); Pauline Grosjean (School of Economics, the University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: We design an experiment to examine the causal effect of legal institutional quality on informal norms of cooperation, and study the interaction of institutions and culture in sustaining economic exchange. 346 subjects in Italy and Kosovo play a market game under different and randomly allocated institutional treatments, which generate different incentives to behave honestly, preceded and followed by a non-contractible and non-enforceable trust game. Significant increases in individual trust and trustworthiness follow exposure to ‘better’ institutions. A reduction by one percentage point in the probability of facing a dishonest partner in the market game, which is induced by the quality of legal institutions, increases trust by 7 to 11%, and trustworthiness by 13 to 19%. This suggests that moral norms of cooperative behavior can follow improvements in formal institutional quality. Cultural origin, initial trust and trustworthiness influence opportunistic behavior in markets, but only in the absence of strong formal institutions.
    Keywords: legal institutions, culture, trust, trustworthiness, markets, experimental methods
    JEL: K40 O17 Z10
    Date: 2013–10
  3. By: Alexander Karaivanov (Simon Fraser University); Anke Kessler (Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: We develop a model to study the choice between formal and informal sources of credit in a setting with strategic default due to limited enforcement. Informal loans (e.g., from friends or relatives) are enforced by the threat of both parties losing the friendship relation. In contrast, formal loans (e.g., from banks) can only be enforced via collateral requirement. We show that the optimal informal loan contract features zero interest rate and zero physical collateral requirement. In contrast, formal loans always charge positive interest and require collateral. Borrowers are more likely to choose informal loans for small investment needs, and for loans with no or low default risk. Riskier loans, up to a limit, are optimally taken from formal sources since physical collateral, unlike social collateral is divisible, and defaulting with a bank is thus less costly than defaulting with a friend. Very risky loans, in contrast, can only be financed by informal sources due to insufficient collateral. Because default with social capital is relatively costly, however, personal loans also imply a limited growth potential. Empirical results from a cross section of 2880 Thai households are consistent with the predicted pattern of formal versus informal credit.
    Keywords: Informal credit, family loans, social capital, peer-to-peer lending, microfinance.
    JEL: G21 O12 O16 O17 D19 D64
    Date: 2013–05
  4. By: Strieborny, Martin (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: Governments perpetually align their policies to satisfy shifts in voters' relative demand for economic growth versus social equality. Following such shifts, increases (decreases) in government interventions lower (raise) both inequality and growth. This mechanism generates a positive co-movement between inequality and growth. The pattern is weaker in countries where a culturally determined belief that the rich are deserving renders equality a less important objective in the first place. I develop this analytical result in the theoretical framework of Alesina and Angeletos (2005), and I provide robust empirical support for it in a panel of 38 countries over the period 1964-2004.
    Keywords: culture; inequality; growth
    JEL: O15 O40 P16 Z10
    Date: 2013–04–24
  5. By: David K Levine; Salvatore Modica
    Date: 2013–06–03
  6. By: Grazia Cecere (Institut Mines Télécom, Télécom Ecole de Management, Université Paris Sud France. France); Susanna Mancinelli (University of Ferrara Italy); Massimiliano Mazzanti (University of Ferrara, SEEDS & CERIS CNR, Italy)
    Abstract: Though reduction is at the top of the waste management hierarchy, EU policies have historically introduced waste management incentives mainly concerning waste recovery and recycling, in addition to actions aimed at reducing disposal in landfills. Only very recently have EU policies started defining targets for waste reduction. Against this backdrop, we aim to examine whether individual behavior towards waste reduction is more strongly driven by extrinsic motivations such as social norms, or intrinsic motivations such as purely altruistic preferences. We exploit a large new survey that covers thousands of individuals for the EU27, to test the role of motivations when people are faced with collective management of the public good. We find that diverse motivations are behind the reduction of food waste: extrinsic motivations nevertheless increase the likelihood of producing more waste. Green consumption / recycling-oriented attitudes and individualistic thinking about waste management relate to ‘waste producers’. This shows that in order to go beyond a recycling-oriented society towards reduction of the source of waste externality – its generation – the nature of social preferences matters. Behavior patterns leading to waste reduction are less socially oriented, less exposed to peer pressure and more reliant upon purely ‘altruistic’ social attitudes. Policy makers should learn from the relevant insights on social behavior we here address if our societies aim to fully integrate the idea of waste reduction alongside recycling in the future.
    Keywords: Intrinsic Motivations, Extrinsic Motivations, Social Norms, Recycling, Waste Reduction, Green Preferences
    JEL: Q53 R11 K42
    Date: 2013–05
  7. By: Davide Ticchi; Thierry Verdier; Andrea Vindigni
    Abstract: We develop a theory of endogenous regimes transitions (with a focus on democratic consolidation), which emphasizes the role of political culture and of its interaction with political institutions. Political culture re?flects the extent of individual commitment across citizens to defend democracy against a potential military coup, and it is an endogenous state variable of the model along with formal political institutions. We focus on two agencies of political socialization: the family and the state. Parents invest resources in order to transmit their own political values (commitment to democracy) to their children. The state invests resources in public indoctrination infrastructures. The model displays two-way complementarities between political regimes and political culture diffusion. Consolidated democracy emerges when sufficiently many people are committed to democracy. Otherwise the model features persistent ?uctuations in and out of democracy as well as cycles of political culture. Importantly, the politico-economic equilibrium may exhibit a persistent (although declining) incongruence between political institutions and political culture, which tends to evolve more slowly than formal institutions.
    Keywords: political culture, socialization, democracy, military, nondemocracy, politi- cal economy, political transitions, institutional consolidation, path dependency.
    JEL: P16 H11 H26 H41
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. (ESMT European School of Management and Technology); Riener, Gerhard (DICE, University of Düsseldorf); Wollbrant, Conny (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: The social dilemma may contain, within the individual, a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and better judgment to cooperate. Examining the argument from the perspective of temptation, we pair the public good game with treatments that vary the degree to which money is abstract (merely numbers on-screen) or tangible (tokens or cash). We also include psychometric measures of self-control and impulsivity. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find in the treatments that render money more tangible a stronger positive association between cooperation and self-control—and a stronger negative association between cooperation and impulsivity. Our results shed light on the conditions under which self-control matters for cooperation.
    Keywords: Self-control; Pro-social behavior; Public good experiment; Temptation
    JEL: D01 D03 D64 D70
    Date: 2013–06–07
  9. By: Luigi Butera (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University); Jeffrey Horn (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)
    Abstract: This paper experimentally investigates how donors respond to news about the efficiency of their charities, that is, to real prices of giving greater than 1, and how the response depends on that information being public or not. We find that as long as charity efficiency remains private information, individuals reward better-than-expected charities (good news) by increasing their donations. On the other hand, bad news are largely ignored by donors when giving happens under full anonymity. However, when charity efficiency is revealed to others, some donors decrease their contribution in response to good news, and they increase it when news are bad. This emergent behavior accounts for 34% of subjects that do respond to new information. We show that the latter behavior is driven by image-motivated donors, who treat the size of their gift and the efficiency of their recipients as substitutes in terms of social image payoffs. Length: 36
    Keywords: charity, experiment
    Date: 2013–05
  10. By: Campante, Filipe (Harvard University); Durante, Ruben (Sciences Po); Sobbrio, Francesco (European University Institute, Florence)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of the diffusion of high-speed Internet on different forms of political participation, using data from Italy. We exploit differences in the availability of ADSL broadband technology across municipalities, using the exogenous variation induced by the fact that the cost of providing ADSL-based Internet services in a given municipality depends on its relative position in the pre-existing voice telecommunications infrastructure. We first show that broadband Internet had a substantial negative effect on turnout in parliamentary elections between 1996 and 2008. However, we also find that it was positively associated with other forms of political participation, both online and offline: the emergence of local online grassroots protest movements, and turnout in national referenda (largely opposed by mainstream parties). We then show that the negative effect of Internet on turnout in parliamentary elections is essentially reversed after 2008, when the local grassroots movements coalesce into the Five-Star Movement (M5S) electoral list. Our findings are consistent with the view that: 1) the effect of Internet availability on political participation changes across different forms of engagement; 2) it also changes over time, as new political actors emerge who can take advantage of the new technology to tap into the existence of a disenchanted or demobilized contingent of voters; and 3) these new forms of mobilization eventually feed back into the mainstream electoral process, converting "exit" back into "voice".
    JEL: D72 L82 L86
    Date: 2013–05
  11. By: Joseph Flavian Gomes
    Abstract: We compute new measures of religious diversity and intolerance and study their effects on civil conflict. Using a religion tree that describes the relationship between different religions, we compute measures of religious diversity at three different levels of aggregation. We find that religious diversity is a significant and robust correlate of civil conflict. While religious fractionalization significantly reduces conflict, religious polarization increases it. This is most robust at the second level of aggregation which implies that the cleavage between Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Christians etc. is more relevant than that between either subgroups of religions like Protestants and Catholics, Shias and Sunnis, etc. or that between higher levels of aggregation like Abrahamic and Indian religions. We find religious intolerance to be a significant and robust predictor of conflict. Ethnic polarization ceases to be a robust predictor of civil conflict once we control for religious diversity and intolerance. We find no evidence that some religions are more violent than others.
    Date: 2013–05

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