nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒01‒10
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
La Sapienza University of Rome

  1. Novelty Conduits and Forms of Network Ties: To Bond or to Bridge? By Simone Santoni; Paolo Ferri; Maria Lusiani
  2. Social mobility at the top: Why are elites self-reproducing? By Elise S. Brezis; Joel Hellier
  3. Understanding the Russian malaise: The collapse and recovery of subjective well-being in post-communist Russia By Ronald Inglehart; Roberto Foa; Eduard Ponarin; Christian Welzel
  4. When does the general public lose trust in banks? By David-Jan Jansen; Robert Mosch; Carin van der Cruijsen
  5. The Construction of Morals By Daniel L. Chen; Susan Yeh
  6. Reference Dependent Altruism By Breitmoser, Yves; Tan, Jonathan H.W.

  1. By: Simone Santoni (Dept. of Management, University of Bologna); Paolo Ferri (School of Business, University of Stockholm); Maria Lusiani (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice)
    Abstract: There is ample, cross-disciplinary evidence suggesting that network ties are key to promoting novelty. However, the network paradigm in organization and management theory offers conflicting views on what types of inter organizational ties are most valuable for organizations that are pursuing novel outcomes. Drawing on the contingent view of social capital, this study disentangles the contribution of ÔbondingÕ and ÔbridgingÕ network ties in the context of two critical conduits of novelty: new ventures and technological change. Empirical findings from a meta-analysis of 351 effect sizes nested in 67 independent samples reveals a consistent pattern of network ties-performance variations. Focusing on a two-by-two matrix that encompasses distinct conduits of novelty-new ventures and technological change-and different levels of pressures for novel outcomes-low vs. high expectation-we found two ideal profiles of network ties-context. Bridging ties are the best fit for the population of new ventures that have low pressure related to technological change. By contrast, bonding ties are more valuable for established firms for which technological change requires competition for competitive advantage. Moreover, we uncovered a pair of suboptimal equifinal designs: bonding and bridging ties are equally beneficial for the performance of new ventures that face technology-intensive environments. Surprisingly, network ties are not significantly associated with performance of established firms in less technology-intensive environments, which are typically characterized by lower pressure for novel outcomes.
    Keywords: network ties, bonding, bridging, closure, brokerage, fit, performance, meta-analysis.
    JEL: M13
    Date: 2013–12
  2. By: Elise S. Brezis (Azrieli Center for Economic Policy (ACEP), Bar-Ilan University, Israel); Joel Hellier (Department of Economics, EQUIPPE, Univ. de Lille and LEMNA, Univ. de Nantes, France)
    Abstract: This paper proposes an explanation for the decrease in social mobility that has occurred in the last two decades in a number of advanced economies, as well as for the divergence in mobility dynamics across countries. Within an intergenerational framework, we show that a two-tier higher education system with standard and elite universities generates social stratification, high social immobility and self-reproduction of the elite. Moreover, we show that the higher the relative funding for elite universities, the higher the elite self-reproduction, and the lower social mobility. We also analyse the impacts of changes in the weight of the elite and of the middle class upon social mobility. Our findings provide theoretical bases for the inverted-U profile of social mobility experienced in several countries since World War II and to the ``Great Gatsby Curve'' relating social mobility to inequality.
    Keywords: Elite, higher education, selection, social mobility, social stratification.
    JEL: I21 J62 O15 Z13
    Date: 2013–11
  3. By: Ronald Inglehart (Higher School of Economics); Roberto Foa (Harvard University); Eduard Ponarin (Higher School of Economics); Christian Welzel (Center for the Study of Democracy, Leuphana University, Scharnhorststr.)
    Abstract: This article analyzes the decline of subjective well-being and a sense of national self-esteem among the Russian people that was linked with the collapse of the communist economic, political and social systems in the 1990s—and a subsequent recovery of subjective well-being that began more recently. Subjective well-being is closely linked with economic development, democracy and physical health. The people of rich countries tend show higher levels than those of poor countries, but already in 1982, the Russia people ranked lower on happiness and life satisfaction than the people of much poorer countries such as Nigeria or India; external signs of this malaise were rising alcoholism and declining male life expectancy. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, subjective well-being in Russia fell to levels never seen before, reaching a low point in 1995 when most Russians described themselves as unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives as a whole. Since 2000, this trend has been reversing itself, but in 2011 Russia still ranked slightly lower than its level in 1981
    Keywords: World Values Survey, Russia, happiness, subjective well-being
    JEL: E11
    Date: 2013
  4. By: David-Jan Jansen; Robert Mosch; Carin van der Cruijsen
    Abstract: When does the general public lose trust in banks? We provide empirical evidence using responses by Dutch survey participants to eight hypothetical scenarios. We find that members of the general public care strongly about executive compensation. Negative media reports, falling stock prices, and opaque product information also affect trust in banks. Experiencing a bank bailout leads to less concern about government intervention, while experience of a bank failure leads to greater concern on bonuses.
    Keywords: trust; banks; general public; financial crisis; survey data
    JEL: D12 D14 D18 G01 G21
    Date: 2013–11
  5. By: Daniel L. Chen (ETH Zurich); Susan Yeh (George Mason University School of Law)
    Abstract: When do policies generate expressive or backlash effects? Recent economic models suggest that where a proscribed activity is prevalent, permissive laws liberalize attitudes toward partakers while increasing utility. The opposite occurs in communities where the proscribed activity is rare. To test these predictions, we randomize data entry workers to transcribe newspaper summaries of liberal or conservative court decisions about obscenity. We find that liberal obscenity decisions liberalize individual and perceived community standards and increase utility. Yet religious workers become more conservative in their values, identify as more Republican, view community standards as becoming more liberal, and report lower utility. Workers update beliefs about the prevalence of sexual activities differently in response to liberal or conservative decisions. These results provide causal evidence for the law having indirect social effects that may amplify or attenuate deterrence effects and suggest that legitimacy of law can affect utility and self-identification. Length: 58
    Keywords: obscenity law, belief updating, values, norms, sexual risk
    JEL: D83 K1 K42 Z1
    Date: 2013–11
  6. By: Breitmoser, Yves; Tan, Jonathan H.W.
    Abstract: In view of behavioral patterns left unorganized by current social preference theories, we propose a theory of reference dependent altruism (RDA). With RDA, one's degree of altruism increases at reference points. It induces equity and efficiency effects that are conditional on whether or not payoffs meet reference points. We verify the theory first by experimentally analyzing majority bargaining, where observed behavior contradicts existing theories but confirms RDA. Using parameter estimates from majority bargaining, we then make out-of-sample predictions for Charness-Rabin, Engelmann-Strobel, and Bolton-Ockenfels games. RDA organizes these seemingly disparate games out-of-sample, which validates our hypothesis that pro-social behavior primarily relates to reference points.
    Keywords: bargaining, non-cooperative game, laboratory experiment, social preferences, quantal response equilibrium
    JEL: C72 C78 D72
    Date: 2014–01–07

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