nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒07‒20
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. Sociability, Altruism and Subjective Well-Being. By Becchetti, Leonardo; Corrado, Luisa; Conzo, Pierluigi
  2. Can Contracts Signal Social Norms? Experimental Evidence By Danilov, Anastasia; Sliwka, Dirk
  3. Bowling for fascism: Social capital and the rise of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany, 1919-33 By Shanker Satyanath; Nico Voigtländer; Joachim Voth
  4. Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions By Son Thierry Ly; Arnaud Riegert
  5. Friends or Family? Revisiting the Effects of High School Popularity on Adult Earnings By Jason Fletcher
  6. Parental Investment and the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Preferences and Attitudes By Zumbühl, Maria; Dohmen, Thomas; Pfann, Gerard A.
  7. Migrant Networks and Job Search Outcomes: Evidence from Displaced Workers By Tommaso Colussi
  8. Social Identity and Punishment. By Butler, Jerey V.; Conzo, Pierluigi; Leroch, Martin A.
  9. A guided tour to (real-life) social network elicitation By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Ramón Cobo-Reyes; Natalia Jiménez; Giovanni Ponti
  10. The Social Effects of Ethnic Diversity at the Local Level: A Natural Experiment with Exogenous Residential Allocation By Yann Algan; Camille Hémet; David Laitin
  11. How the Zebra Got Its Stripes: Imprinting of Individuals and Hybrid Social Ventures By Matthew Lee; Julie Battilana

  1. By: Becchetti, Leonardo; Corrado, Luisa; Conzo, Pierluigi (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 an alysis on departures from the exogeneity assumption.
    Date: 2013–05
  2. By: Danilov, Anastasia (University of Cologne); Sliwka, Dirk (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: We investigate whether incentive schemes signal social norms and thus affect behavior beyond their direct economic consequences. A principal-agent experiment is studied in which prior to contract choice principals are informed about past actions of other agents and thus have more information about "norms of behavior". Compared to a setting with uninformed principals agents exert nearly 50% higher efforts under a fixed wage contract when an informed principal had chosen this contract. Apparently the informed principal's choice signals a norm not to exploit the trust which leads to more trustworthy behavior. This mechanism's robustness is explored in further experiments.
    Keywords: social norms, contracts, incentives, signaling, experiments
    JEL: D03 C91 D86
    Date: 2013–06
  3. By: Shanker Satyanath; Nico Voigtländer; Joachim Voth
    Abstract: Social capital – a dense network of associations facilitating cooperation within a community – typically leads to positive political and economic outcomes, as demonstrated by a large literature following Putnam. A growing literature emphasizes the potentially "dark side" of social capital. This paper examines the role of social capital in the downfall of democracy in interwar Germany by analyzing Nazi party entry rates in a cross-section of towns and cities. Before the Nazi Party's triumphs at the ballot box, it built an extensive organizational structure, becoming a mass movement with nearly a million members by early 1933. We show that dense networks of civic associations such as bowling clubs, animal breeder associations, or choirs facilitated the rise of the Nazi Party. The effects are large: Towns with one standard deviation higher association density saw at least one-third faster growth in the strength of the Nazi Party. IV results based on 19th century measures of social capital reinforce our conclusions. In addition, all types of associations – veteran associations and non-military clubs, "bridging" and "bonding" associations – positively predict NS party entry. These results suggest that social capital in Weimar Germany aided the rise of the Nazi movement that ultimately destroyed Germany's first democracy.
    Keywords: social capital, democracy, political economy, Weimar Germany, Nazi Party
    JEL: N44 P16 Z10
    Date: 2013–06
  4. By: Son Thierry Ly (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales [EHESS] - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole normale supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Arnaud Riegert (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales [EHESS] - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole normale supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, INSEE - Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques - INSEE)
    Abstract: Students' social networks are deeply disrupted during school transitions and students start in a classroom environment where almost all their peers are new. In this study, we investigate the consequences of keeping partly the same classmates during the transition to high school. To overcome the issue of endogenous selection across classes, we exploit rare natural experiment settings in which students are plausibly randomly allocated to classes within high schools. Two estimation strategies are presented and provide the same results. We find that each classmate who was already in a student's class in the last grade of middle school reduces substantially the risk of grade retention in 10th grade, but also in following grades. For low-ability students, the effect amounts to minus 1 percentage point per "persistent classmate", without increasing the risk of dropping out. A number of robustness checks are provided. By analyzing the distribution of the effect, we show that it is the strongest for students who are the most likely to experience a difficult transition, i.e. low-ability, low-SES students from low-quality middle schools. The underlying mechanisms are examined. Our results suggest that grouping students who already know each other during school transitions would constitute an efficient, no-cost policy lever to improve overall achievement and equality in high schools.
    Keywords: Friendships ; Social Networks ; High schools ; Class composition ; Peer effects
    Date: 2013–07
  5. By: Jason Fletcher
    Abstract: Recent evidence has suggested that popularity during high school is linked with wages during mid-life using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. The results were shown to be robust to a large set of individual-level heterogeneity included completed schooling, cognitive ability, and personality measures. This paper revisits this question by first replicating the results using an alternative dataset that is very similar in structure. Like the previous results, the Add Health baseline effects suggest that an additional high school friendship nomination is linked to a 2% increase in earnings around age 30. However, leveraging the unique sibling structure of the Add Health shows that sibling comparisons eliminate any associations between popularity and earnings. The findings suggest that families, rather than friends, may be the cause of the association.
    JEL: J01 J1 J3
    Date: 2013–07
  6. By: Zumbühl, Maria (ROA, Maastricht University); Dohmen, Thomas (University of Bonn); Pfann, Gerard A. (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: We study empirically whether there is scope for parents to shape the economic preferences and attitudes of their children through purposeful investments. We exploit information on the risk and trust attitudes of parents and their children, as well as rich information about parental efforts in the upbringing of their children from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study. Our results show that parents who invest more in the upbringing of their children are more similar to them with respect to risk and trust attitudes and thus transmit their own attitudes more strongly. The results are robust to including variables on the relationship between children and parents, family size, and the parents' socioeconomic background.
    Keywords: risk preferences, trust, intergenerational transmission, cultural transmission, social mobility, GSOEP
    JEL: D1 D8 J13 J62 Z13
    Date: 2013–06
  7. By: Tommaso Colussi (Queen Mary, University of London and fRDB)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how the job search outcomes of displaced migrants are affected by the labor market outcomes of past co-workers of the same nationality. For this exercise I use matched employer-employee micro data on the universe of private-sector employees in Italy between 1975 and 2001. The analysis shows that a 10 percentage point increase in the network employment rate raises the re-employment probability within 36 months after job loss by 5.7 percentage points. The paper also sheds light on the different mechanisms generating the social effect and it highlights the role of migrant networks in explaining immigrant segregation.
    Keywords: Migration, Job displacements, Networks
    JEL: J61 J63
    Date: 2013–07
  8. By: Butler, Jerey V.; Conzo, Pierluigi; Leroch, Martin A. (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Third party punishment is crucial for sustaining cooperative behavior. Still, little is known about its determinants. In this paper we use laboratory experiments to investigate a long-conjectured interaction between group identication and bystanders' punishment preferences using a novel measure of these preferences. We induce minimal groups and give a bystander the opportunity to punish the perpetrator of an unfair act against a defenseless victim. We elicit the bystander's valuation for punishment in four cases: when the perpetrator, the victim, both or neither are members of the bystander's group. We generate testable predictions about the rank order of punishment valuations from a simple framework incorporating group-contingent preferences for justice which are largely conrmed. Finally, we conduct control sessions where groups are not induced. Comparing punishment across treatment and control suggests that third-party punishers tend to treat others as in-group members unless otherwise divided.
    Date: 2013–05
  9. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (GLOBE and Middlesex University London); Ramón Cobo-Reyes (GLOBE and Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.); Natalia Jiménez (GLOBE and Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.); Giovanni Ponti (Universidad de Alicante and Università di Ferrara)
    Abstract: Limited attention has been devoted on how (real-life) social networks are elicited and mapped, even less from the viewpoint of mechanism design. This paper surveys the few mechanisms that have been proposed by the experimental literature to this purpose. These mechanisms differ in their incentive structure, as well as in the means of reward they employ. We compare these elicitation devices on the basis of the estimated dierences in the characteristics of the induced networks, such as the number of (mutual) links, correspondence and accuracy. Our main conclusion is that the elicited network architecture is itself dependent on the nature (and the structure) of the incentives. This, in turn, should provide the social scientist with guidelines on the most appropriate device to use, depending on the research objectives.
    Keywords: Social Networks, Experimental Economics
    JEL: C93 D85
    Date: 2013–07–10
  10. By: Yann Algan (Department of Economics, Sciences Po - Sciences Po); Camille Hémet (Department of Economics, Sciences Po - Sciences Po, AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - Aix-Marseille Univ. - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales [EHESS] - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM)); David Laitin (Department of Political Science, Stanford University - Stanford University)
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates the effects of ethnic diversity on social relationships and the quality of public spaces at a very finite neighborhood level. We use detailed block level data on diversity and housing quality from a representative survey on housing in France. We show how and to what extent diversity within a neighborhood can directly affect household well-being and the quality of the common spaces, whereas the previous literature looks at more aggregate outcomes through voting channels. Our identification strategy relies on the exogeneity of public housing allocations with respect to ethnic characteristics in France, to address the bias due to endogenous residential sorting. Diversity is shown to have a negative effect on the quality of local public goods, either due to vandalism, not deterred by other-regarding preferences and social policing, or due to collective action failure to ensure effective property management. However, we find that diversity has no robust effect on public safety at a local level and, if anything, is more related to social anomie.
    Keywords: diversity; neighborhood effects; living conditions; public housing
    Date: 2013–07
  11. By: Matthew Lee (Harvard Business School); Julie Battilana (Harvard Business School, Organizational Behavior Unit)
    Abstract: Hybrid organizations that combine multiple, existing organizational forms are frequently proposed as a source of organizational innovation, yet little is known about the origins of such organizations. We propose that individual founders of hybrid organizations acquire imprints from past exposure to work environments, thus predisposing them to incorporate the associated logics in their subsequent ventures, even when doing so requires deviation from established organizational templates. We test our theory on a novel dataset of over 700 founders of social ventures, all guided by a social welfare logic. Some of them also incorporate a commercial logic along with the social welfare logic, thereby creating a hybrid social venture. We find evidence of three sources of commercial imprints: the founder's own, direct work experience, as well as the indirect influence of parental work experiences and professional education. Our findings further suggest that the effects of direct imprinting are strongest from the early tenure of for-profit experience, but diminish with longer tenure. In supplementary analyses, we parse out differences between the sources of imprints and discuss implications for how imprinting functions as an antecedent to the creation of new, hybrid forms.
    Keywords: hybrid organizations, imprinting, institutional theory, social entrepreneurship
    Date: 2013–07

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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