nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒06‒30
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. The Price of Warm Glow By Lilley, Andrew; Slonim, Robert
  2. Playing with the social network: Social cohesion in resettled and non-resettled communities in Cambodia By Simone Gobien; Björn Vollan
  3. Cooperation under Democracy and Authoritarian Norms By Björn Vollan; Yexin Zhou; Andreas Landmann; Biliang Hu; Carsten Herrmann-Pillath
  4. Assessing the Benefits of Social Networks for Organizations - Report on the first phase of the SEA-SoNS Project By René van Bavel; Aaron Martin
  5. Structural change, collective action, and social unrest in 1930s Spain By Jordi Domènech Feliu; Thomas Jeffrey Miley
  6. Democracy, Dictatorship and the Cultural Transmission of Political Values By Ticchi, Davide; Verdier, Thierry; Vindigni, Andrea
  7. Exploitation, Altruism, and Social Welfare: An Economic Exploration By Doepke, Matthias
  8. Social Influence and the Matthew Mechanism: The Case of an Artificial Cultural Market By Bask, Miia; Bask, Mikael
  9. Spatial Segregation and Urban Structure By Pascal MOSSAY; Pierre PICARD
  10. Strategic voting and happiness By Francesca Acacia; Maria Cubel

  1. By: Lilley, Andrew (University of Sydney); Slonim, Robert (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: This paper presents a model and experimental evidence to explain the "volunteering puzzle" where agents prefer volunteering time to donating money when monetary donations are, ceteris paribus, more efficient for providing resources to charity. In the model agents receive heterogeneous utility from pure and impure altruism (Andreoni 1989) that permits warm glow to vary between monetary donations and volunteering, thus allowing preferences for impure altruism to rationalize inefficient allocation decisions. We define a measure of the price of impure altruism as the additional proportion of income sacrificed by a donor to give in the dimension that maximizes her utility, holding the overall charitable contribution constant. To test the predictions of the model we ran an experiment in which we varied within-subjects the costs and benefits of monetary and volunteer donations. We also primed between-subjects the emphasis on the donation value to the charity (pure altruism) or the sacrifice to the donor (impure warm-glow altruism). Consistent with the model's predictions, the experiment shows that priming pure altruism increases the efficiency of donation choices, substitutability of donations between money and time and crowding out. Nonetheless, while greater impurity results in a more inefficient allocation of resources, empirically we find it increases overall charitable donations. We discuss the implications of our experimental results for both theory and policy.
    Keywords: altruism, warm glow, volunteering, monetary donations, laboratory experiments
    JEL: D64 D78 H41 C91
    Date: 2013–06
  2. By: Simone Gobien; Björn Vollan
    Abstract: Mutual aid among villagers in developing countries is often the only means of insuring against economic shocks. We use “lab-in-the-field experiments” in Cambodian villages to study social cohesion in established and newly resettled communities. Both communities are part of a land distribution project. The project participants all signed up voluntarily, and their socio-demographic attributes and pre-existing network ties are similar. We use a version of the “solidarity game” to identify the effect of voluntary resettlement on willingness to help fellow villagers after an income shock. We find a sizeable reduction in willingness to help others. Resettled players transfer on average between 47% and 74% less money than non-resettled players. The effect remains large and significant after controlling for personal network and when controlling for differences in transfer expectations. The costs of voluntary resettlement, not only monetary but also social, seem significantly higher than is commonly assumed by development planners.
    Keywords: Voluntary resettlement, Social cohesion, Risk-sharing networks, Monetary transfers, “Lab-in-the-field” experiment, Cambodia
    JEL: C93 O15 O22 R23
    Date: 2013–06
  3. By: Björn Vollan; Yexin Zhou; Andreas Landmann; Biliang Hu; Carsten Herrmann-Pillath
    Abstract: There is ample evidence for a “democracy premium”. Laws that have been implemented via election lead to a more cooperative behavior compared to a top-down approach. This has been observed using field data and laboratory experiments. We present evidence from Chinese students and workers who participated in public goods experiments and a value survey. We find a premium for top-down rule implementation stemming from people with stronger individual values for obeying authorities. When participants have values for obeying authorities, they even conform to non-preferred rule. Our findings provide strong evidence that the efficiency of political institutions depends on societal norms.
    Keywords: Deterrent effect of legal sanctions, expressive law, authoritarian norms, public goods, democratic voting, China
    JEL: A13 C92 D02 D72 H41
    Date: 2013–06
  4. By: René van Bavel (European Commission – JRC - IPTS); Aaron Martin (OECD)
    Abstract: The first phase of the SEA-SoNS ("Assessing the Benefits of Social Networks on Organizations”) project aimed to analyse the current market situation for a limited number of social media stakeholders, to identify and analyse best practices for these selected stakeholders, and to define and prioritise relevant policy options. It was observed that while social media technologies present several potential benefits to organisations, there are considerable challenges and bottlenecks affecting adoption that may warrant policy intervention. To accomplish the objective of developing suitable policy options, the project undertook a range of research and data collection activities, including: • An exhaustive and critical review of the academic, business and policy literature on the organisational use of social networking tools and social media platforms, as well as regular engagement with academic experts in this area • A scoping workshop hosted in Brussels in March 2012, at which the IPTS engaged various stakeholders and social media experts to identify and prioritise the major opportunities and challenges for organizational adoption and deployment of social networking and social media platforms • Ten semi-structured interviews with both technology providers (supply side) and organisational adopters (demand side), to understand and assess their perspectives on the organisational benefits of social technologies, the attendant challenges, best practices, and the wider policy environment • An online 'animation' of stakeholders whereby a larger number of users and experts (n=50) were able to reflect on the main benefits and bottlenecks as regards business and public administration use of social technologies, and to feed these insights into our parallel research activities • A brainstorming workshop in early June 2012, held in Seville, the main objective of which was to distil and synthesise the most important benefits, challenges, best practices, and policy options that emerged from the literature review, stakeholder interviews, and online stakeholder animation • A presentation at the Digital Agenda Assembly (DAA) 2012 that summarised our research to date and focused mainly on policy options for Europe in the area of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) adoption of social media technologies – and, in particular, how these technologies can help to facilitate economic growth and job creation
    Keywords: Social Networks, Social Media, SME, Adoption, Organizations
    JEL: M15 L38 L86 O33
    Date: 2012–12
  5. By: Jordi Domènech Feliu; Thomas Jeffrey Miley
    Abstract: The Spanish 2nd Republic (1931-1936) witnessed one of the fastest and deepest processes of popular mobilization in interwar Europe, generating a decisive reactionary wave that brought the country to the Civil War (1936-1939). We show in the paper that both contemporary comment and part of the historiography makes generalizations about the behaviour of the working classes in the period that stress idealistic, re-distributive and even religious motives to join movements of protest. In some other cases, state repression, poverty, and deteriorating living standards have been singled out as the main determinants of participation. This paper uses collective action theory to argue that key institutional changes and structural changes in labour markets were crucial to understand a significant part of the explosive popular mobilization of the period. We argue first that, before the second Republic, temporary migrants had been the main structural limitation against the stabilization of unions and collective bargaining in agricultural labour markets and in several service and industrial sectors. We then show how several industries underwent important structural changes since the late 1910s which stabilized part of the labour force and allowed for union growth and collective bargaining. In agricultural labour markets or in markets in which unskilled temporary workers could not be excluded, unions benefitted from republican legislation restricting temporary migrations and, as a consequence, rural unions saw large gains membership and participation. Historical narratives that focus on state repression or on changes in living standards to explain collective action and social conflict in Spain before the Civil War are incomplete without a consideration of the role of structural changes in labour markets from 1914 to 1931.
    Keywords: Structural change, Social conflict, Labour markets, Spain, Civil War, Interwar Europe, Migration, 2nd Republic
    JEL: N14 N34 N44 P16 J21 J43 J51 J52 J53 J61 J88
    Date: 2013–06
  6. By: Ticchi, Davide (IMT Lucca); Verdier, Thierry (Paris School of Economics); Vindigni, Andrea (IMT Lucca)
    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 reflects 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 fluctuations 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, political economy, political transitions, institutional consolidation, path dependency
    JEL: P16 H11 H26 H41
    Date: 2013–06
  7. By: Doepke, Matthias (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: Child labor is often condemned as a form of exploitation. I explore how the notion of exploitation, as used in everyday language, can be made precise in economic models of child labor. Exploitation is defined relative to a specific social welfare function. I first show that under the standard dynastic social welfare function, which is commonly applied to intergenerational models, child labor is never exploitative. In contrast, under an inclusive welfare function, which places additional weight on the welfare of children, child labor is always exploitative. Neither welfare function captures the more gradual distinctions that common usage of the term exploitation allows. I resolve this conflict by introducing a welfare function with minimum altruism, in which child labor in a given family is judged relative to a specific social standard. Under this criterion, child labor is exploitative only in families where the parent (or guardian) displays insufficient altruism towards the child. I argue that this welfare function best captures the conventional concept of exploitation and has useful properties for informing political choices regarding child labor.
    Keywords: child labor, exploitation, social welfare function, altruism
    JEL: D63 D64 J10 J47 J80
    Date: 2013–06
  8. By: Bask, Miia (Department of Sociology); Bask, Mikael (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We show that the Matthew effect, or Matthew mechanism, was present in the artificial cultural market Music Lab when social influence between individuals was allowed, whereas this was not the case when social influence was not allowed. We also sketch on a class of social network models, derived from social influence theory, that may gener-ate the Matthew effect. Thus, we propose a theoretical framework that may explain why the most popular songs were much more popular, and the least popular songs were much less popular, than when disallowing social influence between individuals.
    Keywords: Matthew effect; Music Lab; social influence; social network
    JEL: C31 C65 Z19
    Date: 2013–06–26
  9. By: Pascal MOSSAY; Pierre PICARD
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the social interactions between two populations of individuals living in a city. Agents consume land and benefit from intra and intergroup social interactions. We show that segregation arises in equilibrium: populations become separated in distinct spatial neighborhoods. Two- and three-district urban structures are characterized. For high population ratios or strong intergroup interactions, only three-district cities exist. In other cases, multiplicity of equilibria arises. Moreover, for sufficiently low population ratios or very weak intergroup interactions, all individuals agree on the optimal spatial equilibrium.
    Date: 2013–06
  10. By: Francesca Acacia (University of Edinburgh); Maria Cubel (University of Barcelona & IEB)
    Abstract: In this paper we extend the research on happiness and spatial theory of voting by exploring whether strategic and sincere voting affect subjective well-being. We conduct the analysis with data on a large sample of individuals over 50 elections in 16 OECD countries. The results of the analysis show the existence of a negative effect of strategic voting on subjective well-being. In addition, the likelihood of being satisfied decreases when individuals vote strategically for a political party that wins the electoral race. Furthermore, when we analyse separately left-wing and right-wing voters, we find that the described effect holds for left-wing voters but no for right-wing voters. We discuss this evidence in the light of expressive voting theory (Hilman, 2010) and lack of empathy with future selves (Kahneman and Thaler, 1991). Our results are robust to different measures of strategic voting and subjective well-being.
    Keywords: Happiness, life satisfaction, strategic voting, political ideology
    JEL: D72 D03 I31
    Date: 2013

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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