nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2013‒11‒29
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita' la Sapienza

  1. Creativity as an integral element of social capital and its role for economic performance By Westlund , Hans; Andersson, Martin; Karlsson, Charlie
  2. Social Capital and Attitudes towards Money By Alexander Tatarko; Peter Schmidt
  3. Internal Empires I: Social Institutions of the Frontier By Roberto Foa; Anna Nemirovskaya; Elena Mostovova
  4. How social ties affect peer-group effects: a case of university students By Oleg Poldin; Dilyara Valeeva; Maria Yudkevich
  5. Values and Social Capital as Predictors of Attitudes towards Innovation By Nadezhda Lebedeva; Ekaterina Osipova; Liubov Cherkasova
  6. Is individual social capital linked to the implementation of entrepreneurial intentions? By Alexander Tatarko
  7. Freelance contracting in the digital age: informality, virtuality and social ties By Andrey Shevchuk; Denis Strebkov
  8. Post-socialist anomie through the lens of economic modernization and the formalization of social control By Christopher Swader; Leon Kosals
  9. Social Network Sites, Motivations and Social Capital: Comparative Study of Japan and Brazil By Marcos Hideyuki Yokoyama
  10. Social Capital and Political Institutions: Evidence that Democracy Fosters Trust By Ljunge, Martin
  11. Conflicted Emotions Following Trust-based Interaction By Eric Schniter; Roman M. Sheremeta; Timothy W. Shields
  12. Interactive knowledge exchanges under complex social relations: A simulation model By Cowan, Robin; Kamath, Anant
  13. Follow the Leader: Simulations on a Dynamic Social Network By David Goldbaum
  14. Constructive Representation of Trust: Single Rule Paradigm By Arthur Ramer; Robert E. Marks
  15. The Value of Relationships: Evidence from a Supply Shock to Kenyan Rose Exports By Macchiavello, Rocco; Morjaria, Ameet
  16. Does Culture Matter? The Impact of Tolerance on Economic Modernization in a Comparative Perspective By Andrey Shcherbak

  1. By: Westlund , Hans (Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm & Jönköping International Business School); Andersson, Martin (CIRCLE, Lund University & Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona); Karlsson, Charlie (CESIS, Jönköping International Business School & Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona)
    Abstract: In this paper, we focus on the connections between creativity, social capital and economic performance and growth. Our working hypothesis is that both creativity and social capital influences the economy, both each per se, but also through their influence on each other. We regard creativity as one of the sources of entrepreneurship and innovation (although creativity also can have ‘bad’ consequences if bad actors such as criminals perform it). Depending on the types of networks and the norms and values being distributed in them, social capital can promote entrepreneurship and innovation and thus economic growth, but social capital can have an inhibiting effect on entrepreneurship and innovation. Social capital can contribute to creativity by dynamic networks and/or values and attitudes that promote experimentation, but social capital can also counteract creativity by rigid networks and values that support status quo. Efforts to defend status quo might be creative in a sense, but the creativity that we focus on in this paper, that with positive impact on economic growth, is only found in the social capitals that support economic growth and change.
    Keywords: Creativity; social capital; norms; values; attitudes; institutions; networks; innovation; entrepreneurship; economic performance; economic growth
    JEL: D80 L14 L26 O31 O43 R11
    Date: 2013–11–22
  2. By: Alexander Tatarko (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia (Moscow)); Peter Schmidt (National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). International Laboratory of Socio-Cultural research, The Co-Head; Giessen University, Germany)
    Abstract: The objective of this research was to assess the mechanism through which the individual level components of social capital, that is, individuals‘ levels of trust, tolerance and civic identity affect their economic behavior. The sample of the study included 634 respondents aged 20 to 59. A structural equation model relating social capital with economic attitudes was specified and tested controlling for age, gender and education. We found that higher levels of individual social capital were associated with adverse monetary attitudes. Attitudes toward money as a means of influence and protection and the desire to accumulate it reflect a personal sense of dependency on money and lead to constant concern about it. A greater social capital, by providing social support that serves as an alternative source of security, influence, and protection, may reduce this dependence on money. An important finding of our research has been that the component of social capital that correlated most frequently and strongly with monetary attitudes, was civic identity. Generally, based on our findings we propose that the negative association between monetary attitudes and individual level social capital suggests that, when social capital decreases, people try to compensate by accumulating financial capital.
    Keywords: social capital, trust, monetary attitudes, social cohesion, civic identity.
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Roberto Foa (Department of Government, Harvard University. 1737 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138.); Anna Nemirovskaya (Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics. Vasilievsky Ostrov 3, Line 10, room 308, St Petersburg, Russia); Elena Mostovova (Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics. Vasilievsky Ostrov 3, Line 10, room 308, St Petersburg, Russia.)
    Abstract: One of the attributes most consistently highlighted in the literature on frontier society is the tendency to spontaneous social organisation. However, despite the resilience of the ‘frontier thesis’ within sociology and political science, it has not been subject to a rigorous empirical examination. Does it constitute a description of the social norms and institution of the western United States, or is it one manifestation of a more general ‘frontier phenomenon’, found in other times and places? In order to answer these questions, this article examines data on the nature of social relations in frontier zones in four countries: Brazil, Russia, Canada and the United States. Taking a wide range of survey items, we find that higher levels of voluntary activity, social trust, tolerance of outgroups, and civic protest are distinctive features of frontier life, and not simply a feature of the American historical experience.
    Keywords: Social institutions, social capital, settlement patterns, historical institutionalism, frontier thesis
    JEL: Z13 N90 R23
    Date: 2013
  4. By: Oleg Poldin (Associate professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), 25/12 Bolshaja Pecherskaja Ulitsa, Nizhny Novgorod 603155, Russia, researcher at Center for Institutional Studies, HSE.); Dilyara Valeeva (Junior researcher, Center for Institutional Studies, HSE.); Maria Yudkevich ((Corresponding Author) Director, Center for Institutional Studies, HSE, Russia, 101000 Moscow, Myasnitskaya street, 20.)
    Abstract: Among the key issues of peer effects estimation is the correct identification of relevant peers. In this study, we explore how the individual performance of university students is influenced by characteristics and achievements of peers from individual’s social network. The analysis uses data from two directed networks: a network of friends and a network of study partners for thirdyear students at a top-tier Russian university. Data on network ties in randomly formed student groups enables us to address the endogeneity problem and disentangle the influence of peers’ performance from the effect that a peer’s background has on students. We show that both the GPA of peers and their ability measures are significant in the estimated regression model. A onepoint increase in the average GPA of peers is associated with an increase in an individual student’s own GPA of approximately one fourth. The regression on the data from the network of study partners has slightly greater explanatory power than the analys is based on data from the network of friends. No effect from a student’s classmates is found in the model that assumes group interactions occur between group mates
    Keywords: peer effects, higher education, student achievement, social networks.
    JEL: I23 I24
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Nadezhda Lebedeva (National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). International Laboratory of Socio-Cultural Research.); Ekaterina Osipova (National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). International Laboratory of Socio-Cultural Research); Liubov Cherkasova (National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). International Laboratory of Socio-Cultural Research:)
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship of values and social capital with attitudes towards innovations. The respondents (N = 1238) were asked to fill in a questionnaire, which included the Schwartz value survey SVS-57, a selfassessment scale of innovative personality traits [Lebedeva, Tatarko, 2009], and a method of assessing social capital [Tatarko, 2011]. The results of the correlation analysis revealed a positive correlation between values of Openness to Change and a positive attitude to innovation. It was also found that the components of social capital (trust, tolerance, perceived social capital) positively correlated with attitudes to innovation. The empirical model obtained by means of a structural equation modeling generally confirmed the hypothesis of the study and demonstrated the positive impact of the values of Openness to Change and social capital on attitudes towards innovations in Russia
    Keywords: creativity, innovation, attitude to innovation, social capital, perceived social capital, individual values
    JEL: A13
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Alexander Tatarko (National Research University Higher School of Economics. International Laboratory of Socio-Cultural research. Senior Researcher)
    Abstract: The present study reveals the role of individual social capital in the implementation of a person’s intention to start their own business and reveals how individual social capital contributes to this action. The basic premise of our study is that individual social capital facilitates people’s implementation intention to start their own business. The sample consists of a group of respondents (N=269) who intended to start their own business (intenders) and another group (non-intenders) who did not intend to (N=270). We combined the reasoned action approach (Fishbein & Aizen, 2010) with the individual social capital approach (Van Der Gaag & Snijders, 2004) to study intention and implementation. The study showed that the intenders had more resources provided by formal (organizations and associations) and informal networks and relationships. These resources had a direct and indirect impact (through the perceived behavioral control) on their intention to start their own business. We concluded, that individual social capital can facilitate the implementation of entrepreneurial intention. A year later, we performed panel research and carried out another study by re-interviewing respondents who had expressed their intention to start their own business in the next 2 years. It was found that respondents who opened a business only a year later had higher social capital than those who did not. To explain the psychological mechanism underling the relation between intention and implementation, we use the term “the buffering effect of social support”, which means that people who feel potential support are less susceptible to stressful situations and circumstances than people who do not feel potential support.
    Keywords: words: individual social capital, entrepreneurial intention, theory of planned behavior, the buffering effect of social support, perceived behavioral control
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2013
  7. By: Andrey Shevchuk (National Research University Higher School of Economics. Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology. Senior Researcher;); Denis Strebkov (National Research University Higher School of Economics. Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology. Senior Researcher;)
    Abstract: Based on a sample of 5,784 Russian-speaking respondents, this study provides the first quantitative evidence on freelance contracting via the Internet. We explore the extent to which these virtual business relations are formal or informal, and the role of social capital and networking. Our data suggest freelancers act under constant threat of malfeasance from clients. We address a number of questions associated with freelancers’ business risks and how freelancers might mitigate them. The logistic regression models reveal that the virtualization of relationships with clients is associated with greater moral hazard risks and fewer opportunities for dispute resolution. Formal written contracts do not prevent opportunistic behaviors by clients, though such contracts help resolve conflicts. Dealing with available social contacts and referrals decreases both the probability of extreme opportunism, causing financial losses, and the probability that disputes remain unresolved. Nevertheless, established social relations could be exploited by clients who can delay payments or insist on altering deadlines, work scope and specifications. Thus, our findings contribute to existing literatures on social capital in freelance contracting and on the structure of occupational labor markets.
    Keywords: freelancers, independent contractors, self-employment, Internet, opportunism, social capital
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Christopher Swader (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, NRU-HSE. Senior Researcher, Laboratory for Comparative Social Reseach, NRU-HSE); Leon Kosals (Professor, Department of Sociology, NRU-HSE. Chief Researcher, Laboratory for Comparative Social Reseach, NRU-HSE)
    Abstract: This paper inquires into how economic modernization impacts normative regulation by spurring, on the one hand (a) formal media of normative regulation (also known as formal social control) in the spheres of politics, economics and interpersonal relations and, on the other hand, (b) informality via the lower density of norms (also known as anomie). This work then asks how these two processes relate to one another. Evidence indicates that modernization is clearly linked to formal media of normative regulation in the spheres of politics (measured as greater government effectiveness), economics (i.e. lower proportion of shadow economy), and interpersonal relations (i.e. less reliance upon family and friendships). Moreso, our multi-level regression models, using World Values Survey data, report that political formality (government effectiveness) at the country level is linked to less anomie at the individual level. Overall, we suggest that economic growth initially brings normlessness through undermining informal social control. However, with greater economic stock, there is a tendency for greater political formalization, formal social control, which brings levels of anomie down. Furthermore, even after all controls, there is a strong anomie syndrome in post-communist societies
    Keywords: economic modernization, formality, informality, social control, anomie, post-socialism
    JEL: O1 Z1
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Marcos Hideyuki Yokoyama (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)
    Abstract: The advance of web technology has allowed increasingly number of people to have access to Social Network Sites. Different members of society, including people of all ages and social classes, have used Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This study examines the relationship between the use of Social Network Sites and the formation of social capital. Using data from a web survey of employees in Japan (n = 244) and Brazil (n = 251), positive associations between SNS use and social capital development were found in both countries. Cultural differences seem to influence this process; in Brazil, intensity of SNS use has a stronger association with bridging and bonding social capital when perceived enjoyment is high; in Japan, employees use SNS for utility and enjoyment reasons, but perceived enjoyment does not interfere with social capital gains. Implications and future research are discussed.
    Keywords: social network sites, cross-cultural research, motivation, social capital
    JEL: M1 M15 M16
    Date: 2013–11
  10. By: Ljunge, Martin (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: This paper finds evidence that more democratic political institutions increase trust. Second generation immigrants with ancestries from 115 countries are studied within 30 European countries. Comparing individuals born and residing in the same country, those whose father was born in a more democratic country express higher trust than those whose father was born in a less democratic country. The results are robust to individual, parental, and ancestral country controls.
    Keywords: Trust; Democracy; Political institutions; Cultural transmission; Social capital
    JEL: F55 H10 J62 Z13
    Date: 2013–11–18
  11. By: Eric Schniter (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University); Roman M. Sheremeta (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and Department of Economics, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University); Timothy W. Shields (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)
    Abstract: We investigated whether 20 emotional states, reported by 170 participants after participating in a Trust game, were experienced in a patterned way predicted by the “Recalibrational Model” or Valence Models. According to the Recalibrational Model, new information about trust-based interaction outcomes triggers specific sets of emotions. Unlike Valence Models that predict reports of large sets of either positive or negative emotional states, the Recalibrational Model predicts the possibility of conflicted (concurrent positive and negative) emotional states. Consistent with the Recalibrational Model, we observed reports of conflicted emotional states activated after interactions where trust was demonstrated but trustworthiness was not. We discuss the implications of having conflicted goals and conflicted emotional states for both scientific and well-being pursuits.
    Keywords: emotion, affect valence, recalibrational theory, Trust game, experiment
    JEL: C73 C91 D87
    Date: 2013
  12. By: Cowan, Robin (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, Maastricht University, and BETA, Universite de Strassbourg); Kamath, Anant (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG)
    Abstract: This is a model of knowledge exchange by means of informal interaction among agents in low technology clusters. What this study seeks to do is to colour these exchanges by placing them in an environment of complex social relations, test whether the small-world network structure is the most favourable for knowledge exchanges in these environments, and explore the influence of social relations and network distance. These enquiries are the contribution of this model to the existing series of studies on efficient network structures for knowledge diffusion. We find that the small-world network structure may not be the best network structure for highest and most equitable knowledge distribution, when knowledge exchanges are undertaken in environments of complex social relations. Also, we confirm that the highest and most equitable knowledge distribution is achieved when there is perfect affinity among the agents.
    Keywords: Knowledge Exchanges, Small-Worlds, Social Networks, Complex Social Relations
    JEL: D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2013
  13. By: David Goldbaum (Economics Discipline Group, University of Technology, Sydney)
    Abstract: This paper introduces a process of individual adjustment based on private local experiences and observation that allows for the emergence of a global social structure that is the equilibrium to the static follow-the-leader game of Goldbaum (2013). The setting rewards agents for being early adopters of popular products or trends. From simple, myopic, self-serving adjustment based on historic evidence by individuals emerges the the equilibrium social structure consisting of a single choice leader and a population of followers, which, in the static setting would require an unlikely degree of coordination to produce. Individual actions take place in a social context with individuals linked via one-way paths of observation. The strategy by which an agent chooses among the available options evolves over time. Different adjustment emergent processes contribute towards the understanding of the unfolding of events that generate the equilibrium structure.
    Keywords: Leader; Dynamic Network; Social Interaction; Consumer Choice; Simulation
    JEL: D85 D71 C71
    Date: 2013–11–01
  14. By: Arthur Ramer (School of Computer Science & Engineering, the University of New South Wales); Robert E. Marks (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: A constructive computational framework for trust and reputation assessments is presented. It is proven free from any inconsistent or contradictory assessments under any scenarios of its application. A prototype implementation has been developed. The framework focuses on a single information-theoretical rule as inference mechanism, thus avoiding any biases or spurious constraints in the solutions. The users of our model will find its results intuitively plausible, free from clustering or drift to the extrema. The entire framework is suited for a direct use in economic, financial and intelligence analyses.
    Keywords: trust, belief revision, maximum entropy, reputation
    JEL: D83
    Date: 2013–11
  15. By: Macchiavello, Rocco (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Morjaria, Ameet (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence on the importance of reputation, intended as beliefs buyers hold about seller’s reliability, in the context of the Kenyan rose export sector. A model of reputation and relational contracting is developed and tested. We show that 1) the value of the relationship increases with the age of the relationship; 2) during an exogenous negative supply shock sellers prioritize relationships consistently with the predictions of the model; and 3) reliability at the time of the shock positively correlates with future survival and relationship value. Models exclusively focussing on enforcement or insurance considerations cannot account for the evidence. JEL classification: Relational Contracts ; Reputation ; Exports JEL codes: C73 ; D23 ; L14 ; O12
    Date: 2013
  16. By: Andrey Shcherbak (Research Fellow, Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at the National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Is tolerance important for modernization? What can one say about the relationship and causality between tolerance and modernization? It is assumed that an increase in tolerance, expressed as a tolerant attitude towards homosexuality, gender equality, and a decrease in xenophobia, has a significant impact on modernization. Here modernization is understood in a ?narrow? sense, referring to economic and technological modernization. The author uses the ?cultural modernization? approaches of R.Inglehart and the ?creative class? concept of R.Florida. Based on data from 55 countries, the author concludes that tolerance does have a significant impact on modernization, with gender equality being the most predictive factor and proving to be important in three groups of compared models (Index of Modernization, Innovation Index, and Investment Index). A tolerant attitude towards homosexuals and a decrease in xenophobia play a less significant role. Gender equality is an important predictor for modernization because women are in the majority – not the minority – and lowering entry barriers for women leads to their inclusion in a post-industrial economy. The results show that this is extremely important for economic modernization. Two distinct patterns of modernization are revealed: A tolerant model and a catching-up model. The former model focuses on innovation, high levels of tolerance, and strong institutions, while the latter focuses on investment, a lower-level of tolerance, and weak political institutions. Institutions do matter – they seem to be a causal mechanism in the relationship between tolerance and modernization. Institutions play a significant role in the tolerant model, where a post-industrial economy is associated with a post-industrial society. However, some countries try to build a post-industrial economy without building a post-industrial society, putting the main emphasis not on innovation, but on higher investment rates
    Keywords: cultural change, technological modernization, institutions, gender equality
    JEL: O15 A13
    Date: 2013

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