nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒11‒22
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. The Impact of Social Networks on Labour Market Outcomes: New Evidence from Cape Breton By Khan, Adnan Q.; Lehrer, Steven F.
  2. Social Network Analysis and the Sociology of Economics: Filling a Blind Spot with the Idea of Social Embeddedness By Bögenhold, Dieter
  3. Parental investment and the intergenerational transmission of economic preferences and attitudes By Maria Zumbuhl; Thomas Dohmen; Gerard Pfann
  4. Social Capital and Human Capital in the Colonies: A Study of Cocoa Farmers in Western Nigeria By Nonso Obikili
  5. Social Capital, climate change and soil conservation investment: panel data evidence from the Highlands of Ethiopia By Mintewab Bezabih; Abe Damte Beyene; Zenebe Gebreegziabher; Livousew Borga
  6. The Power of Religious Organizations in Human Decision Processes: Analyzing Voting Behavior By Benno Torgler; Davis Stadelmann; Marco Portmann
  7. Altruism in Networks By Renaud Bourlès; Yann Bramoullé
  8. University spinoffs and the "Performance Premium". By Czarnitzki, Dirk; Rammer, Christian; Toole, Andrew A.
  9. "Hierarchy of Ideals in Market Interactions: An Application to the Labor Market" By Aurelie Charles
  10. On the economics of others By Stark, Oded
  11. Political Trust, Corruption and Ratings of the IMF and the World Bank By Breen, Michael; Gillanders, Robert

  1. By: Khan, Adnan Q.; Lehrer, Steven F.
    Abstract: Debates centered on the role of social networks as a determinant of labour market outcomes have a long history in economics and sociology; however, determining causality remains a challenge. In this study we use information on random assignment to a unique intervention to identify the impact of changes in the size of alternative social network measures on subsequent employment at both the individual and community level. Our results indicate that being assigned to the treatment protocol significantly increased the size of social networks, particularly weak ties. Nevertheless, these increases did not translate into improved employment outcomes 18 months following study completion. We do not find any evidence of treatment effect heterogeneity based on the initial size of one’s social network; but those whose strong ties increased at a higher rate during the experiment were significantly less likely to hold a job following the experiment. We find that many of these results also hold at the community level among those who did not directly participate in the intervention. In summary, our results suggest that policies can successfully influence the size of an individual’s social network, but these increases have limited impacts on long run labour market outcomes with the notable exception of changes in the composition of individuals who hold jobs.
    Keywords: employment; social networks; experiment; non-compliance; Maritimes; strong and weak ties
    JEL: J48 C93 D85
    Date: 2013–02–25
  2. By: Bögenhold, Dieter
    Abstract: Today, social networks analysis has become a cross-disciplinary subject with applications in diverse fields of social and economic life. Different network designs provide different opportunities to communicate, to receive information and to create different structures of cultural capital. Network analysis explores modes and contents of exchanges between different agents when symbols, emotions or goods and services are exchanged. The message of the article is that social network analysis provides a tool to foster the understanding of social dynamics, which enhances recent debate on a micro-macro gap and on limitations of the cognitive and explanatory potential of economics.
    Keywords: Social Network Analysis, social dynamics, micro-macro gap
    JEL: A1 A12 A14
    Date: 2013–01
  3. By: Maria Zumbuhl (Maastricht University); Thomas Dohmen (University of Bonn); Gerard Pfann (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: parental investments, risk preferences, trust, intergenerational transmission, cultural economics, family economics, social interactions
    JEL: D80 J12 J13 J62 Z13
    Date: 2013–11
  4. By: Nonso Obikili
    Abstract: I examine the relationship between social and human capital in colonial Western Nigeria. Using data on expenditure of cocoa farmers in 1952, I show that farmers in townships with higher social spending individually spend more on education. The relationship holds after controlling for various characteristics of the farmers and the townships. Thus I show that there is a relationship between social and human capital and that this relationship was already present during the colonial era.
    Keywords: Human Capital, social capital, Africa
    JEL: J24 D71 N37
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Mintewab Bezabih; Abe Damte Beyene; Zenebe Gebreegziabher; Livousew Borga
    Abstract: The paper analyses the impact of climate change and local social networks on farmers’ soil conservation behaviour in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. Farm household level panel data with multiple plots combined with climate data from the adjacent meteorological stations, interpolated at a household level, are employed in the analysis. The extent to which local social networks contribute to soil conservation investment in the presence of climate change is assessed using multivariate probit and poison estimation methods. In light of similar previous studies, the major contributions of the paper are: 1) the use of wide ranging social capital measures, and 2) the availability of different soil conservation structures in multiple plots within the same household. The results show that climate change is a significant determinant of soil conservation investment. In addition, the relationship between local social networks and soil conservation is context specific.
    Date: 2013–06
  6. By: Benno Torgler; Davis Stadelmann; Marco Portmann
    Abstract: In Switzerland, two key church institutions – the Conference of Swiss Bishops (CSB) and the Federation of Protestant Churches (FPC) – make public recommendations on how to vote for certain referenda. We leverage this unique situation to directly measure religious organizations' power to shape human decision making. We employ an objective measure of voters' commitment to their religious organization to determine whether they are more likely to vote in line with this organization’s recommendations. We find that voting recommendations do indeed matter, implying that even in a secularized world, religion plays a crucial role in voting decisions.
    Keywords: Power, religion, voting, referenda, trust, rules of thumb
    JEL: D03 D72 D83 H70
    Date: 2013–11–18
  7. By: Renaud Bourlès (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)); Yann Bramoullé (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))
    Abstract: We provide the first theoretical analysis of altruism in networks. Agents are embedded in a fixed, weighted network and care about their direct friends. Given some initial distribution of incomes, they may decide to support their poorer friends. We study the resulting non-cooperative transfer game. Our analysis highlights the importance of indirect gifts, where an agent gives to a friend because his friend himself has a friend in need. We uncover four main features of this interdependence. First, we show that there is a unique profile of incomes after transfers, for any network and any utility functions. Uniqueness in transfers holds on trees, but not on arbitrary networks. Second, there is no waste in transfers in equilibrium. In particular, transfers flow through indirect paths of highest altruistic strength. Third, a negative shock on one agent cannot benefit others and tends to affect socially closer agents first. In addition, an income redistribution that decreases inequality ex-ante can increase inequality ex-post. Fourth, altruistic networks decrease income inequality. In contrast, more altruistic or more homophilous networks can increase inequality.
    Keywords: private transfers; social networks; altruism; income redistribution; income inequality
    Date: 2013–11
  8. By: Czarnitzki, Dirk; Rammer, Christian; Toole, Andrew A.
    Abstract: The creation of spinoff companies is often promoted as a desirable mechanism for transferring knowledge and technologies from research organizations to the private sector for commercialization. In the promotion process, policymakers typically treat these “university” spinoffs like industry startups. However, when university spinoffs involve an employment transition by a researcher out of the not-for-profit sector, the creation of a university spinoff is likely to impose a higher social cost than the creation of an industry startup. To offset this higher social cost, university spinoffs must produce a larger stream of social benefits than industry startups, a performance premium. This paper outlines the arguments why the social costs of entrepreneurship are likely to be higher for academic entrepreneurs and empirically investigates the existence of a performance premium using a sample of German startup companies. We find that university spinoffs exhibit a performance premium of 3.4 percentage points higher employment growth over industry startups. The analysis also shows that the performance premium varies across types of academic entrepreneurs and founders’ academic disciplines.
    Keywords: academic entrepreneurship; startups; technology transfer; open science; firm performance; university spinoff policy; human capital; social capital;
    Date: 2013–01
  9. By: Aurelie Charles
    Abstract: This paper argues that a hierarchy of ideals exists in market interactions that sets the benchmark on the norm of fairness associated with these interactions, thus affecting pricing decisions associated with market exchange. As norms emerge, an ideal determines the criteria of optimal behavior and serves as a basis for market exchange. Norms homogenize the diversity of commodities in market interactions according to a hierarchy of norms and values. The paper then goes on to illustrate how this hierarchy of ideals works in the labor market, leading to inequality of access to jobs and wages between groups of individuals. Groups socially perceived to be diverging from the context-dependent dominant ideal are likely to suffer most in market interactions.
    Keywords: Market Exchange, Norms, Optimality, Labour Market
    JEL: B00 D1 E31 J31 J71 P00
    Date: 2013–11
  10. By: Stark, Oded
    Abstract: We relate to others in two important ways: we care about others, and we care about how we fare in comparison to others. In some contexts, these two forms of relatedness interact. Caring about others can conveniently be labeled altruism. Caring about how we fare in comparison with others who fare better than ourselves can conveniently be labeled relative deprivation. I provide examples of domains in which the incorporation of altruism and relative deprivation can point to novel perspectives and suggest rethinking, and possibly revising, longheld views. And I show that there are domains in which consideration of relative deprivation can substitute for the prevalence of altruism, and vice versa. I conclude that this is a fascinating sphere for research on economics and social behavior. --
    Keywords: Altruism,Relative deprivatio,Economic and social behavior
    JEL: D01 D03 D13 D31 D63 D64 F22 F24 J61 O15
    Date: 2013
  11. By: Breen, Michael; Gillanders, Robert
    Abstract: There are only a handful of studies that examine public support for the IMF and World Bank. At the individual level, evaluations of the economy feature prominently in these studies. Utilizing data from the Afrobarometer study, we find that evaluations of the economy, ideology and a range of socio-demographic factors including age, gender, employment status, health, education, and living conditions are not significantly related to ratings of effectiveness. Rather, we find that political trust and corruption – two very important concepts in the wider literature on individual level attitudes toward international relations and foreign policy issues – are strongly associated with ratings of effectiveness.
    Keywords: IMF, World Bank, public opinion
    JEL: F5 F53 P16
    Date: 2013–11–11

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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.