nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒03‒15
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
La Sapienza University of Rome

  1. Institutions, Human Capital and Development By Daron Acemoglu; Francisco A. Gallego; James A. Robinson
  2. Connections Matter: How Personal Network Structure Influences Biomedical Scientists’ Engagement in Medical Innovation By Llopis,Oscar; D’Este,Pablo
  3. The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility By James J. Heckman; Stefano Mosso
  4. Overcoming Moral Hazard with Social Networks in the Worksplace: An Experimental Approach By Dhillon, Amrita; Peeters, Ronald; Muge Yukse, Ayse
  5. Conflict and segregation in networks: An experiment on the interplay between individual preferences and social influence By Penélope Hernández; Guillem Martínez-Canovas; Manuel Muñoz-Herrera; Lea Ellwardt
  6. The Long-Term Effects of Protestant Activities in China By Yuyu Chen; Hui Wang; Se Yan
  7. Are Smarter People Better Samaritans? Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Pro-Social Behaviors By Luis Aranda; Martin Daniel Siyaranamual
  8. NGOs, from the Promotion of Civic Participation to Public Problems Solving By Golmohammadpoor Azar, Kamran; Banae Babazadeh, Amin
  9. Parents' Education and their Adult Offspring's Other-Regarding Behavour By Ulrik H. Nielsen
  10. Revealing the Preferences of Social Financiers By Christoph Starke; Steffen Burchhardt
  11. Understanding the Determinants of the Usage of Corporate Social Networks: An Integrative Perspective By Nabila JAWADI; Laetitia BONIS

  1. By: Daron Acemoglu; Francisco A. Gallego; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: In this paper we revisit the relationship between institutions, human capital and development. We argue that empirical models that treat institutions and human capital as exogenous are misspecified both because of the usual omitted variable bias problems and because of differential measurement error in these variables, and that this misspecification is at the root of the very large returns of human capital, about 4 to 5 times greater than that implied by micro (Mincerian) estimates, found in some of the previous literature. Using cross-country and cross-regional regressions, we show that when we focus on historically-determined differences in human capital and control for the effect of institutions, the impact of institutions on long-run development is robust, while the estimates of the effect of human capital are much diminished and become consistent with micro estimates. Using historical and cross-country regression evidence, we also show that there is no support for the view that differences in the human capital endowments of early European colonists have been a major factor in the subsequent institutional development of these polities.
    JEL: I25 O10 P16
    Date: 2014–02
  2. By: Llopis,Oscar; D’Este,Pablo
    Abstract: In this study, we analyze the determinants of biomedical scientists’ participation in various types of activities and outputs related to medical innovation. More specifically, we argue that scientists occupying brokerage positions among their contacts will in a more favorable position to deliver medical innovation outcomes, compared to scientists embedded in more dense networks. However, we also theorize that beyond a threshold, the coordination costs of brokerage may surpass its potential benefits. In addition to that, we study the influence of two individual-level attributes as potential determinants of the participation in medical innovation activities: cognitive breadth and perceived beneficiary impact. We situate our analysis within the context of the Spanish biomedical research framework, where we analyze a sample of 1,309 biomedical scientists.
    Keywords: Social Capital, Ego-Network Brokerage, Medical innovation, Translational Research, Perceived Beneficiary Impact, Cognitive Breadth
    JEL: D85 Z13 O31
    Date: 2014–03–05
  3. By: James J. Heckman (The University of Chicago); Stefano Mosso (The University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper distills and extends recent research on the economics of human development and social mobility. It summarizes the evidence from diverse literatures on the importance of early life conditions in shaping multiple life skills and the evidence on critical and sensitive investment periods for shaping different skills. It presents economic models that rationalize the evidence and unify the treatment effect and family influence literatures. The evidence on the empirical and policy importance of credit constraints in forming skills is examined. There is little support for the claim that untargeted income transfer policies to poor families significantly boost child outcomes. Mentoring, parenting, and attachment are essential features of successful families and interventions to shape skills at all stages of childhood. The next wave of family studies will better capture the active role of the emerging autonomous child in learning and responding to the actions of parents, mentors and teachers.
    Keywords: capacities, dynamic complementarity, parenting, scaffolding, attachment, credit constraints
    JEL: J13 I20 I24 I28
    Date: 2014–02
  4. By: Dhillon, Amrita (Kings College, London); Peeters, Ronald (Maastrict); Muge Yukse, Ayse (Maastrict)
    Abstract: The use of social networks in the workplace has been documented by many authors, although the reasons for their widespread prevalence are less well known. In this paper we present evidence based on a lab experiment that suggests quite strongly that social networks are used by employers to reduce worker moral hazard. We capture moral hazard with a dictator game between the referrer and worker. The worker chooses how much to return under dierent settings of social proximity. Social proximity is captured using Facebook friendship information gleaned anonymously from subjects once they have been recruited. Since employers themselves do not have access to social connections, they delegate the decision to referrers who can select among workers with dierent degrees of social proximity to themselves. We show that employers choose referrals over anonymous hiring relatively more when they know that the referrer has access to friends, and are willing to delegate more often when the social proximity between referrer and worker is potentially higher. In keeping with this expectation, referrers also choose workers with a greater social proximity to themselves and workers who are closer to referrers indeed pay back more to the referrer. The advantage of the lab setting is that we can isolate directed altruism as the only reason for these results.
    Keywords: Eciency wage contracts, Moral hazard, Dictator game, Referrals, Altruism, Reciprocity, Directed altruism, Social proximity, Facebook, Experiment, Social networks, Strength of ties, Spot market.
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Penélope Hernández (ERI-CES); Guillem Martínez-Canovas (ERI-CES); Manuel Muñoz-Herrera (University of Groningen); Lea Ellwardt (University of Groningen)
    Abstract: We examine the interplay between a person's individual preference and the social influence others exert. We provide a model of network relationships with conflicting preferences, where individuals are better off coordinating with those around them, but not all prefer the same action. We test our model in an experiment, varying the level of conflicting preferences between individuals. Our findings suggest that preferences are more salient than social influence, under conflicting preferences: subjects relate mainly with others who prefer the same. This leads to two undesirable outcomes: network segregation and social inefficiency. The same force that helps people individually hurts society.
    Keywords: Heterogeneity, Social Networks, Formation, Equilibrium selection
    JEL: C62 C72 D82 D85
    Date: 2014–01
  6. By: Yuyu Chen; Hui Wang; Se Yan
    Abstract: Does culture, and in particular religion, exert an independent causal effect on long-term economic growth, or do culture and religion merely reflect the latter? We explore this issue by studying the case of Protestantism in China during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Combining county-level data on Protestant presence in 1920 and socioeconomic indicators in 2000, we find that the spread of Protestantism has generated significant positive effects in long-term economic growth, educational development, and health care outcomes. To better understand whether the relationship is causal, we exploit the fact that missionaries purposefully undertook disaster relief work to gain the trust of the local people. Thus, we use the frequency of historical disasters as an instrument for Protestant distribution. Our IV results confirm and enhance our OLS results. When we further investigate the transmission channels over the long historical period between 1920 and 2000, we find that although improvements in education and health care outcomes account for a sizable portion of the total effects of missionaries' past activities on today's economic outcomes, Protestant activities may have also contributed to long-term economic growth through other channels, such as through transformed social values. If so, then a significant amount of China's growth since 1978 is the result not just of sudden institutional changes but of human capital and social values acquired over a longer historical period.
    Keywords: Protestantism, Economic Growth, Education, Health Care, China
    JEL: I25 N15 N35 O11 O43 Z12
    Date: 2014–02
  7. By: Luis Aranda (Advanced School of Economics, University Ca' Foscari of Venice); Martin Daniel Siyaranamual (Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University)
    Abstract: This study investigates how cognitive abilities correlate with civic engagement of older Europeans (aged 50+), using waves two and three of the SHARE dataset. An instrumental variable approach is employed in an at-tempt to disentangle possible endogeneity issues arising between cognitive abilities and civic engagement. Cognitive abilities are instrumented with the number of books in the respondent's place of residence during childhood. The results advocate for the existence of a causal relationship running from cognition in old age to community engagement. Though contradicting standard theoretical predictions, this empirical finding is in line with mainline experimental results showing how participants with higher cognitive abilities tend to be less risk averse, and thus more willing to opt for a payoff-dominant action in a stag hunt game context more often.
    Keywords: Cognitive ability; civic engagement; instrumental variables;risk-aversion; we-rationality
    JEL: D03 D64 D71
    Date: 2014–05
  8. By: Golmohammadpoor Azar, Kamran; Banae Babazadeh, Amin
    Abstract: In the contemporary world, NGOs are considered as important tool for motivating the community. So they committed their true mission and the promotion of civic participation and strengthen social identities. Functional characteristics of non-governmental organizations are the element to leverage the centers of political and social development of powerful governments since they are concrete and familiar with the problems of society and the operational strategies which would facilitate this process of mutual trust between the people and organizations. NGOs on the one hand offer reasonable solutions in line with approved organizations as agents to match between the facts and reality of society and on the other hand changes to a tool to have true political, social and economical behavior. However, the NGOs are active in the formulation of national relations and policy formulation in an organized and disciplined based on three main factors, ie, resources, policies, and institutions. Organizations are not restricted to state administration in centralized system bodies and this process in the democratic system limits the accumulation of desires and expectations and at the end reaches to the desired place. Hence, this research will attempt to emphasis on field research (questionnaire) and according to the development evolution and role of NGOs analyze the effects of this center on youth. Therefore, the hypothesis is that there is a direct relationship between the Enlightenment and the effectiveness of policy towards NGOs and solving social damages. --
    Keywords: NGO,Insightful,Civic Participation,Community Vulnerability
    JEL: O15 L30 L31 L38
    Date: 2014–02–13
  9. By: Ulrik H. Nielsen (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)
    Abstract: Does socioeconomic background when measured by parental educational attainment explain the heterogeneity in adults' other-regarding preferences? I test this by using data from two online experiments -- a Dictator Game and a Trust Game that were conducted with a broad sample of the Danish adult population. I match the experimental data with high-quality data from the Danish population registers about my subjects and their parents. Whereas previous studies have found socioeconomic status, including parental educational attainment, to be predictive for children's generosity, I find no such evidence among adults. This result is robust across age groups and genders. I provide two explanations for this. First, sociodemographic characteristics in general appear to be poor predictors of adults' other-regarding behavior. Second, by using Danish survey data, I find that Danish parents' educational attainment appears to be uncorrelated with how important they find it to teach their children to "think of others". More speculative explanations are also provided.
    Keywords: Dictator Game, Trust Game, Generosity, Other-Regarding Preferences, Parental Education, Socioeconomic Status.
    JEL: C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2014–02
  10. By: Christoph Starke (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg); Steffen Burchhardt (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: Financiers of social entrepreneurs are typically characterized as having some form of prosocial or CSR related objective. While in some studies such objectives have been formulated on an analytically inconvenient level, other contributions are limited only to charity finance. In this paper we identify Fehr and Schmidt’s inequality aversion as an analytically tractable and most basic motivation of social financiers in general. Specifically, we show that the financiers’ decision structures and their observable behavior coincide with the experimental findings of Fehr and Schmidt (1999). Moreover, we derive behavioral implications for social entrepreneurs. Paradoxically, given that financiers do not prefer a self-consumption of the social service, they contribute more if the entrepreneur provides them nevertheless.
    Keywords: inequality aversion, social entrepreneurship, financier, public good, social service
    JEL: D03 D31 L26 L31
    Date: 2014–02
  11. By: Nabila JAWADI; Laetitia BONIS
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze factors influencing workers’ behaviors toward corporate social networks (CSN). Using the integrated model of technology acceptance and users’ satisfaction (Wixom and Todd 2005), the proposed research model explains the usage of a CSN by its perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, the satisfaction with its characteristics and with information it produces and its overall quality. Results of a survey administrated among 352 workers in a large French group show that evaluation of the quality of the CSN, the satisfaction with it as well as its perceived usefulness play an important role in enhancing its usage. However, our findings show that no significant link exists between perception of ease of use of the CSN and its usage.
    Keywords: technology acceptance, user satisfaction, the integrated model, corporate social networks, structural equation modeling.
    Date: 2014–02–25

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