nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒08‒05
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. Voting Alone? The Political and Cultural Consequences of Commercial TV By Ruben Durante; Paolo Pinotti; Andrea Tesei
  2. Trust and reciprocity among Mediterranean countries By Nikolaos Georgantzis; Juan A. Lacomba; Francisco Lagos; Juliette Milgram
  3. Are Internet and Face-to-Face Contacts Complements or Substitutes? Evidence from Internet Traffic between Cities By David Cuberes
  4. Law and Social Capital: Evidence from the Code Napoleon in Germany By Johannes C. Buggle
  5. Playing with the social network: Social cohesion in resettled and non-resettled communities in Cambodia By Simone Gobien; Björn Vollan
  6. Can Trust Explain Social Capital Effect on Property Rights and Growth? By Hall, Stephen G; Ahmad, Mahyudin
  7. Controlled negative reciprocity between the state and civil society: the Greek case By Julien Etienne
  8. Are Happier People Less Judgmental of Other People's Selfish Behaviors? Laboratory Evidence from Trust and Gift Exchange Games By Michalis Drouvelis; Nattavudh Powdthavee
  9. Religion, Minority Status and Trust: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Gautam Gupta; Minhaj Mahmud; Pushkar Maitra; Santanu Mitra; Ananta Neelim
  10. Expanding social inclusion in community sports organizations: evidence from rural Australian Football clubs By Lionel Frost; Margaret Lightbody; Abdel Halabi
  11. Does Social Cohesion Really Promote Reforms? By Hannes Andréasson; Niklas Elert; Nils Karlson
  12. The Influence of Social Capital Dimensions on Household Participation in Micro-Credit Groups and Loan Repayment Performance in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya By Kangogo, Daniel; Lagat, Job; Ithinji, Gicuru
  13. Collective action and community development : evidence from self-help groups in rural India By Desai, Raj M.; Joshi, Shareen

  1. By: Ruben Durante (Département d'économie); Paolo Pinotti; Andrea Tesei
    Abstract: We investigate the long-term impact of early exposure to Berlusconi’s commercial TV network, Mediaset, on voting behavior and civic engagement in Italy. To do so, we exploit differences in Mediaset signal reception across Italian municipalities due to the network’s staggered introduction over the national territory and to idiosyncratic geomorphological factors. We find that municipalities exposed to Mediaset prior to 1985 exhibit greater electoral support for Berlusconi’s party in 1994, when he first ran for office, relative to municipalities that were exposed only later on. This difference, estimated between 1 and 2 percentage points, is extremely robust and tends to persist in the following four elections. This effect can hardly be attributed to differential exposure to partisan news bias since, prior to 1985, content on Mediaset channels was dominated by light-entertainment programs and no news programs were broadcast until 1991, by which time the network was accessible to the entire population. Instead, we present evidence that early exposure to commercial TV was associated with a substantial decline in social capital consistent with the diffusion of a culture of individualism and civic disengagement that favored the political success of Berlusconi.
    Keywords: mass media, voting, civic engagement
    JEL: L82 D72 Z13
    Date: 2013–06
  2. By: Nikolaos Georgantzis (LEE & Department of Economics, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain); Juan A. Lacomba (Department of Economics & GLOBE, University of Granada, Spain); Francisco Lagos (Department of Economics & GLOBE, University of Granada, Spain); Juliette Milgram (Department of Economics & GLOBE, University of Granada, Spain)
    Abstract: This article examines an intra- and international trust game experiment among Moroccan, French and Spanish subjects. Before making each decision, participants were informed on the nationality of their partner. We find that, overall, subjects from Morocco exhibited a higher level of trust. Furthermore, they were found to trust French subjects more than those from Spain. Regarding reciprocal behavior, subjects from Spain were the least trustworthy. Apart from this, we do not observe any discriminatory patterns from or towards any country.
    Keywords: trust, reciprocity, trust game, cross-country, experiment
    JEL: C91
    Date: 2013
  3. By: David Cuberes (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: This paper uses a new dataset on Internet flows between cities around the world to study whether electronic communication and face-to-face contacts are substitutes or complements. In order to test these competing hypotheses I estimate a regression of bilateral Internet traffic on physical distance between pairs of cities and several city and country-specific variables that include a control for cities’ population, countries’ population and per capita GDP, the number of Internet users, the intensity of trade between countries, and several dummies that aim to capture city specific effects and the degree of familiarity between residents of different countries. The estimates reveal a strong and robust negative effect of distance on the intensity of electronic communications, suggesting that Internet and face-to-face contacts are more likely to be complements than substitutes.
    Keywords: cities; Internet; face-to-face contacts; death of distance
    JEL: R12
    Date: 2013
  4. By: Johannes C. Buggle
    Abstract: Do legal institutions affect norms of cooperation? Using the introduction of the Code Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars in Germany as a historical experiment, I show that a positive shock to the quality of legal institutions can increase social-capital long-lastingly. I find that individuals living in regions where the Code Napoleon was used display higher levels of interpersonal trust in the data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). This result holds true conditional on past development levels, as well as in a less heterogeneous border sample, separating regions that applied the Code Napoleon from those that did not. Artificially moving the border and comparing regional pre-treatment characteristics support the interpretation of a causal treatment effect. In addition, I show immediate effects of the Code Civil on novel measures of 19th century social capital. The analysis of historical employment data furthermore suggests economic cooperation to be a potential mechanism for the relationship between legal institutions and social capital.
    Keywords: Institutions, Long-Term Persistence, Social Capital
    JEL: N43 O10 P48 Z10
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Simone Gobien (University of Marburg); Björn Vollan (University of Innsbruck)
    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 sociodemographic 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-inthe- field” experiment, Cambodia
    JEL: C93 O15 O22 R23
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Hall, Stephen G; Ahmad, Mahyudin
    Abstract: The consensus in growth literature has recognized the significant effects of institutions (including social capital and political institutions) towards economic growth. Utilizing the World Value Survey (WVS)’s trust variable that has often been used to represent social capital, and employing panel data technique which hitherto has been very limited in social capital studies, this study shows that WVS’ trust data suffer severe missing observation problem and the panel fixed effect estimation using such data produce highly unrobust results. Future research in social capital therefore needs to expand their measure of social capital beyond the WVS trust indicator. The results also indicate that political institutions effect on growth could possibly occur indirectly via property rights channel.
    Keywords: Trust; Social Capital; Property Rights; Economic Growth;
    JEL: O43 Z13
    Date: 2013–05
  7. By: Julien Etienne
    Abstract: Rarely do discussions on state-society relationship meet with discussions on street-level encounters between members of civil society and state agents. This article intends to bridge this gap by discussing state-society relationships in Greece as they can be understood from a pattern of minor illegalities from the part of both state agents and members civil society, and non-enforcement. The approach consists in building from that pattern an ideal-type of mutual hostility and controlled negative reciprocity between state and society. Albeit produced through a multitude of unconnected and uncoordinated interactions between members of civil society and public rules/public agents, a relationship of controlled negative reciprocity holds as a coherent pattern, already discussed in previous works by Simmel, Campbell, Clastres and Gouldner. This ‘ideal-type’ contributes both the literature on state society relationships and the literature on regulatory encounters, and it sheds new light on contemporary Greece before and during the crisis.
    Keywords: minor illegalities, non-enforcement, negative reciprocity, state-society relationship, contemporary Greece.
    Date: 2013–06
  8. By: Michalis Drouvelis; Nattavudh Powdthavee
    Abstract: What determines people's moral judgments of selfish behaviors? Here we study whether people's normative views in trust and gift exchange games, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance, are themselves functions of positive emotions. We used experimental survey methods to investigate people's moral judgments empirically, and explored whether we could influence subsequent judgments by deliberately making some individuals happier. We found that moral judgments of selfish behaviors in the economic context depend strongly on other people's behaviors, but their relationships are significantly moderated by an increase in happiness for the person making the judgment.
    Keywords: Happiness, moral judgments, trust games, gift exchange games
    JEL: C91
    Date: 2013–07
  9. By: Gautam Gupta; Minhaj Mahmud; Pushkar Maitra; Santanu Mitra; Ananta Neelim
    Abstract: It is now well accepted that trust is crucial for economic and social development. There is also evidence that religion strongly affects how individuals act when interacting with others. The same is true of status. Using a field experiment conducted in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, two regions, which are similar in terms of socioeconomic characteristics, ethnicity and language but have different religious composition, this paper examines whether religion or minority status affect trusts among different segments of the population. Our results show that it is minority status rather than religion that drives behavior. In both countries individuals belonging to the minority group (Muslims in West Bengal and Hindus in Bangladesh) exhibit positive in-group bias in trust behavior, while individuals belonging to the majority group in both countries (Hindus in West Bengla and Muslims in Bangladesh) show positive out-group bias in trustworthiness. The driver of this bias is however different across the two countries. Finally we find that the extent of in-group bias is systematically higher for religious individuals than non-religious individuals.
    Keywords: Trust, Religion, Status, In-group and Out-group, Field Experiment, South Asia.
    JEL: C93 N3 C21 D03
    Date: 2013–07
  10. By: Lionel Frost; Margaret Lightbody; Abdel Halabi
    Abstract: Australian Football clubs have traditionally been seen as contributing social benefits to the rural communities in which they are embedded. Declining numbers of participants, both players and volunteers, suggest that this role may not be as strong today. Critical explorations of the extent to which football has driven social inclusion and exclusion in such environments emphasise a historic ‘masculine’ culture of drinking and violence that segregates and marginalises women and children. Less is known about the contemporary strategic efforts of clubs to use social capital to support their activities, and whether the resources they generate have positive impacts on social inclusion in the wider community. We use evidence from the Parliament of Victoria’s Inquiry into Country Football (2004) to explore the current focus of rural Australian Football clubs regarding social inclusion, in the light of changes occurring in society in general and in rural towns in particular in the 21st century.
    Date: 2013–07
  11. By: Hannes Andréasson; Niklas Elert; Nils Karlson
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether social cohesion makes economic reforms more likely. First, we investigated whether social cohesion is a coherent concept by using a principal-component factor (PCF) analysis covering 16 indicators used to measure social cohesion in the previous literature for 40 different countries. The results suggested that in fact social cohesion is a multidimensional concept, consisting of no less than five orthogonal components or distinct dimensions, which we labeled social divisions, modern values, traditional nationalism, institutional commitment, and fairness as merit. The dimensions are then examined in relationship with economic reform in a panel regression framework. Results show that most dimensions of social cohesion do not in fact influence reform capacity. However, views of fairness based on merit, in contrast to equality, and to some extent social divisions, are found to have a positive effect on economic reforms. The results go against the previous literature, challenging the prevailing view of social cohesion as being unambiguously beneficial to economic reform.
    Keywords: Social cohesion, welfare state, reform, economic freedom
    JEL: D02 O17 O43 P00 Z13
    Date: 2013–07
  12. By: Kangogo, Daniel; Lagat, Job; Ithinji, Gicuru
    Abstract: Lack of access to credit is a key obstacle for economic development of transitional economies such as Kenya. The underlying problem is related to information asymmetry combined with the lack of collateral by low income households. Microfinance led group lending model offer a new way to deal with this problem without resorting to collateral requirements. The core issue in group lending is that it systematically exploits elements of social capital that inherently exist in groups into an incentive contract that substitutes collateral; a formal bank conventional requirement of lending that is virtually unavailable to the poor. This study sought to ascertain the influence of social capital dimensions on households’ participation and repayment performance in micro-credit groups in the study area. The study was conducted in Moiben Division, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya based on a sample of 174 households selected using a multi-stage sampling technique. The data was collected using a personally administered structured questionnaire. In the analysis descriptive statistics, Heckman two stage and a Tobit regression models were employed. The results show that individual and group borrowers had significant differences in gender, age, farm size, years of education, income and land tenure. It was established that household size, farm income and distance to the nearest financial institution positively influenced a household to join micro-credit group. On the other hand age, gender, years of education, farm size and interest rate were found to be significant and negatively influenced household decision to join micro-credit groups. The level of household participation in micro-credit groups measured by the number of loan borrowings was significantly and positively influenced by age, total income, years of experience in group borrowing and decision making index while farm size, heterogeneity index and density of membership had a negative affect on household number of loan borrowings. Lastly, the results on group loan repayment performance using the Tobit model revealed that experience in group borrowing, number of visits by loan officer, peer pressure, meeting attendance index and heterogeneity index positively and significantly influenced loan default rate while gender, household size, distance to the nearest financial institution and density of membership were significant but negatively influenced household loan repayment performance. The study therefore recommends that MFIs should increase awareness and encourage poor households to form micro-credit groups. These institutions are obliged to provide training to households on group dynamics in order to take advantage of social capital existing within well organized and managed groups.
    Keywords: Social capital, Access to Credit, Group Lending, Microfiance, Heckman two step Model, Tobit Model, Loan Repayment, Micro-credit Group
    JEL: D7 D71 G2 G23
    Date: 2013–04–25
  13. By: Desai, Raj M.; Joshi, Shareen
    Abstract: In response to the problems of high coordination costs among the poor, efforts are underway in many countries to organize the poor through"self-help groups"(SHGs) -- membership-based organizations that aim to promote social cohesion through a mixture of education, access to finance, and linkages to wider development programs. The authors randomly selected 32 of 80 villages in one of the poorest districts in rural India in which to establish SHGs for women. Two years of exposure to these programs increased women's participation in group savings programs as well as the non-agricultural labor force. Compared to women in control villages, treated women were also more likely to participate in household decisions and engage in civic activities. The authors find no evidence however, that participation increased income or had a disproportionate impact by women's socio-economic status. These results are important in light of the recent effort to expand official support to SHGs under the National Rural Livelihood Mission.
    Keywords: Access to Finance,Primary Education,Housing&Human Habitats,Population Policies,Social Accountability
    Date: 2013–07–01

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