nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒03‒22
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
La Sapienza University of Rome

  1. Bowling for fascism: social capital and the rise of the Nazi Party By Shanker Satyanath; Nico Voigtländer; Hans-Joachim Voth
  2. Constitutions and social networks By MAULEON, Ana; ROEHL, Nils; VANNETELBOSCH, Vincent
  3. Civic Capital and Development: Italy, 1951-2001 By Giuseppe Albanese; Guido de Blasio
  4. Competence versus Trustworthiness: What Do Voters Care About? By Fabio Galeotti; Daniel John Zizzo
  5. To Bond or to Bridge? Contingent Effects of Managers' Social Capital on Organizational Performance By Sangyub Ryu
  6. Growth Strategy with Social Capital and Physical Capital- Theory and Evidence: the Case of Vietnam By Cuong Le Van; Anh Ngoc Nguyen; Ngoc-Minh Nguyen
  7. "Exclusive Intermediation" By Itay Fainmesser
  8. Social norms or low-cost heuristics? An experimental investigation of imitative behavior By Simona Cicognani; Luigi Mittone
  9. Donations, Risk Attitudes and Time Preferences: A Study on Altruism in Primary School Children By Angerer, Silvia; Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela; Lergetporer, Philipp; Sutter, Matthias
  10. Key Players in Co-Offending Networks By Lindquist, Matthew J.; Zenou, Yves
  11. Pathways from jobs to social cohesion By Wietzke, Frank-Borge
  12. Agent-based modeling of knowledge transfer within social networks By Widad Guechtouli
  13. Fair and unfair punishers coexist in the Ultimatum Game By Pablo Branas-Garza; Antonio M. Espin; Benedikt Herrmann
  14. Trust and Cheating in Sri Lanka: The Role of Experimentally-Induced Emotions about Tsunami. By Conzo, Pierluigi

  1. By: Shanker Satyanath; Nico Voigtländer; Hans-Joachim Voth
    Abstract: Social capital is often associated with desirable political and economic outcomes. This paper contributes to a growing literature on its "dark side". We examine the role of social capital in the downfall of democracy in interwar Germany. We analyze Nazi Party entry in a cross-section of cities, and show that dense networks of civic associations such as bowling clubs, choirs, and animal breeders went hand-in-hand with a rapid rise of the Nazi Party. Towns with one standard deviation higher association density saw at least one-third faster entry. All types of associations – veteran associations and non-military clubs, “bridging” and “bonding” associations – positively predict NS Party entry. Party membership, in turn, predicts electoral success. These results suggest that social capital aided the rise of the Nazi movement that ultimately destroyed Germany’s first democracy. We also show that the effects of social capital were more important in the starting phase of the Nazi movement, and in towns less sympathetic to its message.
    Keywords: Social capital, democracy, institutions, associations, networks
    JEL: D72 N34 N44 P16 Z10
    Date: 2014–03
  2. By: MAULEON, Ana (CEREC, Saint Louis University; Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, Belgium); ROEHL, Nils (Department of Economics, University of Paderborn; BiGSEM, Bielefeld University, Germany); VANNETELBOSCH, Vincent (CEREC, Saint Louis University; Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, Belgium)
    Abstract: The objective of the paper is to analyze the formation of social networks where individuals are allowed to engage in several groups at the same time. These group structures are interpreted here as social networks. Each group is supposed to have specific rules or constitutions governing which members may join or leave it. Given these constitutions, we consider a social network to be stable if no group is modified any more. We provide requirements on constitutions and players’ preferences under which stable social networks are induced for sure. Furthermore, by embedding many-to-many matchings into our setting, we apply our model to job markets with labor unions. To some extent the unions may provide job guarantees and, therefore, have influence on the stability of the job market.
    Keywords: social networks, constitutions, stability, many-to-many matchings
    JEL: C72 C78 D85
    Date: 2014–02–12
  3. By: Giuseppe Albanese (Bank of Italy); Guido de Blasio (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: We empirically investigate the role of civic capital (proxied by voter turnout) in Italy's economic development in the second half of the Twentieth century. Using a unique dataset at the city level, we show that over a fifty-year span voter turnout was steadily correlated with economic development and that this reflected some causality running from the former to the latter. We also find that the impact of civic capital was greater in the period immediately after the Second World War and gradually waned in the following decades.
    Keywords: civic capital, development, Italy
    JEL: O10 O43
    Date: 2014–03
  4. By: Fabio Galeotti (University of East Anglia); Daniel John Zizzo (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: Appointing public officials is an important feature of modern democracies. Citizens are periodically asked to select amongst different candidates whom they want to appoint as public officials in central or local governments. There may be a trade-off on the extent to which candidates are seen as competent versus the extent to which they are seen as trustworthy. In our experiment, we ask voters to select a public official, on the competence and trustworthiness of which their final payoffs depend. We measure the competence of candidates in a real effort task and their trustworthiness in a trust game, and provide this information to voters when they make their voting decision. By looking at cases where there is a competence-trustworthiness trade-off, we can then measure the extent to which competence and trustworthiness matter in electoral decisions. We find that, in general, most voters tend to select the candidate rationally, based on who provides the highest expected profit irrespectively of trustworthiness and competence, but there is a bias towards caring about trustworthiness when the difference in expected profits between the two candidates is small enough.
    Date: 2014–03
  5. By: Sangyub Ryu (International University of Japan)
    Abstract: A top manager's social capital is considered as a critical resource for determining organizational outcome. However, little is known about the impacts of social capital on public organizations' performance. By dimensionalizing social capital into two, this study investigates impacts of a superintendentfs bonding and bridging social capital on the performance of school districts. Findings show that bridging social capital has positive impacts on organizational performance but in a time of financial difficulty, it worsens negative shocks of financial difficulty. Bonding social capital is found to be exactly the opposite. This study argues that bonding and bridging social capital is not an "either-or" question and top managers are required to balance the two contingent on the situation that their organizations face.
    Keywords: bonding, bridging, social capital, performance
    Date: 2014–03
  6. By: Cuong Le Van; Anh Ngoc Nguyen; Ngoc-Minh Nguyen
    Abstract: We study the impact of social capital in both simple theoretical and em- pirical model with the main assumption is the price of physical capital is a decreasing function of social capital. In our theoretical model, there exists a critical value such that ffrm will not invest in social capital if its saving is lower than the critical value and otherwise. Moreover, the output depends positively and non-linearly on the social capital. Our empirical model that captures the impact of physical capital, human capital, and social capital using the database from Survey of Small and Medium Scale Manufactur- ing Enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam 2011, conffrms the conclusions of the theoretical model.
    Keywords: Social Capital, Optimal Growth Classification-JEL : Z1, E2, O00
    Date: 2014–02–25
  7. By: Itay Fainmesser
    Abstract: In this paper, we argue that an important function fulfilled by intermediaries is to facilitate trust by enabling social pressure towards the enforcement of informal agreements. To that end, we develop a new model that uses network theory to show that intermediaries who have exclusivity over a large enough number of interaction opportunities are able to exploit their position in the chains of interactions in the market to overcome incentive problems that would otherwise shut down the market. We derive conditions on the network structure under which intermediaries fulfill this function. Finally, we analyze two applications: (1) the market for short termapartment rentals; and (2) a financial market with investors and entrepreneurs. We provide additional examples suggesting that this paper uncovers an important channel through which intermediaries operate.
    Keywords: Networks, intermediation, long-term relationships, self-governance, community enforcement, trust, social capital, cooperation, strategic default, financial intermediation, Creation-Date: 2014
  8. By: Simona Cicognani; Luigi Mittone
    Abstract: This paper extends choice theory by allowing for the interaction between cognitive costs and social norms. We experimentally investigate the role of imitation when participants face a task which is costly in cognitive terms. We identify two main reasons for imitative behavior. First, individuals belonging to a community might want to conform to others to obey to social norms. Second, individuals might be boundedly rational and consider imitation as a decisional device when comparing alternatives is cognitively demanding. In order to disentangle the two effects, we devise a laboratory experiment with a novel experimental task in which we model the choice of different alternatives through high or low cognitive costs and feedback information provided to subjects. Our results provide evidence for imitative behavior only through the channel of beliefs regarding others’ performance. We also find a temporal pattern in the distribution of choices, both in the high-cost and low-cost cognitive conditions, that may represent another cognitive shortcut.
    Keywords: Social Norms, Cognitive Costs, Laboratory Experiments
    JEL: C92 D81 Z13
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Angerer, Silvia (University of Innsbruck); Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela (University of Innsbruck); Lergetporer, Philipp (University of Innsbruck); Sutter, Matthias (European University Institute)
    Abstract: We study with a sample of 1,070 primary school children, aged seven to eleven years, how altruism in a donation experiment is related to children's risk attitudes and intertemporal choices. Examining such a relationship is motivated by theories of reciprocal altruism that provide a cornerstone to understand human social behavior. We find that higher risk tolerance and patience in intertemporal choice increase, in general, the level of donations, albeit the effects are non-linear. We confirm earlier results that altruism increases with age during childhood and that girls are more altruistic than boys. Having older brothers makes subjects less altruistic.
    Keywords: altruism, donations, risk attitudes, intertemporal choices, experiment, children
    JEL: C91 D03 D63 D64
    Date: 2014–03
  10. By: Lindquist, Matthew J. (SOFI, Stockholm University); Zenou, Yves (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: We study peer effects in crime by analyzing co-offending networks. We first provide a credible estimate of peer effects in these networks equal to 0.17. This estimate implies a social multiplier of 1.2 for those individuals linked to only one co-offender and a social multiplier of 2 for those linked to three co-offenders. We then provide one of the first empirical tests of the key player policy in a real world setting. This policy defines a micro-founded strategy for removing the criminal from each network that reduces total crime by the largest amount. Using longitudinal data, we are able to compare the theoretical predictions of the key player policy with real world outcomes. By focusing on networks for which the key player has disappeared over time, we show that the theoretical predicted crime reduction is close to what is observed in the real world. We also show that the key player policy outperforms other reasonable police policies such as targeting the most active criminals or targeting criminals who have the highest betweenness or eigenvector centrality in the network. This indicates that behavioral-based policies can be more efficient in reducing crime than those based on algorithms that have no micro-foundation.
    Keywords: crime, social networks, peer effects, social multiplier, key player, crime policies
    JEL: A14 K42 Z13
    Date: 2014–02
  11. By: Wietzke, Frank-Borge
    Abstract: There is growing recognition that access to good jobs is an important driver of social cohesion. While economic dimensions of labor market outcomes are relatively well documented, evidence on the link between social cohesion and jobs is still surprisingly scarce. This paper, based on an earlier background report for the WDR 2013, presents empirical evidence for pathways between labor market outcomes and social cohesion. The findings indicate that formal employment is associated with a range of social outcomes and behaviors that are typically associated with higher levels of social cohesion. However, there are also indications that this relationship varies across dimensions of social wellbeing. In particular social interactions and political activism among those in regular employment can either improve the quality of aggregate institutions or deepen existing social divides.
    Keywords: Labor Policies,Labor Markets,Population Policies,Markets and Market Access,Housing&Human Habitats
    Date: 2014–03–01
  12. By: Widad Guechtouli
    Abstract: In this paper, we study both processes of direct and indirect knowledge transfer, from a modelling perspective, using agent-based models. In fact, there are several ways to model knowledge. We choose to study three different representations, and try to determine which one allows to better capture the dynamics of knowledge diffusion within a social network. Results show that when knowledge is modelled as a binary vector, and not cumulated, this enables us to observe some heterogeneity in agents' learning and interactions, in both types of knowledge transfer.
    Keywords: knowledge model, knowledge transfer, social networks, communication.
    Date: 2014–02–25
  13. By: Pablo Branas-Garza (Business School, Middlesex University London); Antonio M. Espin (GLOBE,Universidad de Granada; Departamento de Teoría e Historia Económica, Universidad de Granada); Benedikt Herrmann (Behavioural Economics Team, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Joint Research Centre, European Commission)
    Abstract: Fairness norms are crucial in understanding the emergence and enforcement of large-scale cooperation in human societies. The most widely applied framework in the study of human fairness is the Ultimatum Game (UG). In the UG, a proposer suggests how to split a sum of money with a responder. If the responder rejects the proposer’s offer, both players get nothing. Rejection of unfair offers is considered to be a form of punishment implemented by fair-minded individuals, who are willing to sacrifice their own resources in order to impose the fairness norm. However, an alternative interpretation is equally plausible: punishers might actually be using rejections in a competitive, spiteful fashion as a means to increase their relative standing. This hypothesis is in line with recent evidence demonstrating that “prosocial” and “antisocial” punishers coexist in other experimental games. Using two large-scale experiments, we explore the nature of UG punishers by analyzing their behavior in a Dictator Game. In both studies, we confirm the coexistence of two entirely different sub-populations: prosocial punishers, who behave fairly as dictators, and spiteful (antisocial) punishers, who are totally unfair. Such a result is fundamental for research on the foundations of punishment behavior employing the UG. We discuss how focusing only on the fairness-oriented part of human behavior might give rise to misleading conclusions regarding the evolution of cooperation and the behavioral underpinnings of stable social systems.
    Date: 2014–01
  14. By: Conzo, Pierluigi (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Through a field experiment in Sri Lanka I analyze the role of experimentally-induced memories of 2004 tsunami on behavior in a trust game in which personal notions of cheating are elicited. Micro-finance borrowers were randomly assigned to a treatment (control) group consisting in watching a video about the calamity before feel cheated; in a survey they selected whether the video mostly reminded about solidarity, looting or the calamity experience. Results suggest a differential impact of emotional stimuli induced by the video-treatment on trustors’ definition of cheating and trustees’ intentional cheating. Among the treated, the probability trustors define cheating as a non-negative return on investment (i.e. receive no more than what invested) and trustees satisfy trustor’s cheating notion (i.e. return at least what makes him/her not feel cheated) is higher when recalling solidarity than when looting and/or the calamity. As expected, there are no significant emotional effects of the video on control group’s behavior. If the trust game replicates real investment decisions, identifying the channels through which emotional memories of a past shock affect behavior offer important insights on what hinders socio-economic transactions within post-disaster areas.
    Date: 2014–03

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