nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒05‒04
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
La Sapienza University of Rome

  1. With God We Trust: Religion, Trust and Cooperation in Large-Scale Societies By Julien Gagnon
  2. The Power of Religious Organizations in Human Decision Processes: Analyzing Voting Behavior By Benno Torgler; David Stadelmann; Marco Portmann
  3. The Potential of Time Banks to support Social Inclusion and Employability: An investigation of the use of reciprocal volunteering and complementary currencies for social impact By David Boyle
  4. Gender differences in shirking: monitoring or social preferences? Evidence from a field experiment By Johansson, Per; Karimi, Arizo; Nilsson, Peter
  5. A threshold for biological altruism in public goods games played in groups including kin By Hannes Rusch
  6. Donations, risk attitudes and time preferences: a study on altruism in primary school children By Angerer, Silvia; Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela; Lergetporer, Philipp Jürgen Huber; Sutter, Matthias
  7. Experimental games on networks: Underpinnings of behavior and equilibrium selection By Gary Charness; Francesco Feri; Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez; Matthias Sutter
  8. Gender Comparison, Schooling and Sociability Ratings in Nigeria Evidence from Youth Survey in Ife Town By Ojeaga, Paul; Odejimi, Deborah
  9. Deception in Networks: A Laboratory Study By Rong Rong; Daniel Houser
  10. Culture, Religiosity and Female Labor Supply By Guner, Duygu; Uysal, Gökce

  1. By: Julien Gagnon
    Abstract: The first aim of this paper is to revisit the puzzle of cooperation in large-scale societies.It proposes a game theoretic model showing how endogenous emotion-based punishment can sustain ull cooperation when interactions are not repeated, provided that players' endogenous trust is high enough. The model the signalling theory of religion. Finally, the model enables clear and tractable predictions about the levels of religious affiliation and participation within a society. Evidence of the model's implications is discussed.
    Keywords: Cooperation; Emotions; Psychological Game Theory; Punishment; Religion; Trust.
    JEL: D02 D03 D71 D81 Z12
    Date: 2014–04–29
  2. By: Benno Torgler; David 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
  3. By: David Boyle (New Weather Institute)
    Abstract: Time banks are systems which measure and reward the effort people make in their neighbourhoods, supporting other people – often in very informal ways – and which allows people also to draw down informal support when they need it. In different ways, they use time as a kind of ‘money’ to reward people who help out in their neighbourhoods or beyond, and which then acts as a medium of exchange, whereby they can draw down help from the system themselves – or spend the time on more concrete rewards, like entry to sports clubs, training or even food. This report explores the development of different a diversity of time banks and parallel currencies from across the world to understand their potential to help combat social exclusion and support employability. Using 10 case studies, it identifies the factors that make for successful time banks, and the challenges building sustainability in different welfare and socio-economic contexts. The report finds evidence to suggest that they have the potential to improve well-being and mental health, to enhance the effectiveness of public services, and even to promote entrepreneurship and self-employed business ventures. It draws lessons for policy and identifies research challenges. This report is one of a series produced by the JRC-IPTS Information Society Unit as part of the ICT4EMPL Future Work study, that explores four novel forms of internet-mediated work activity, both paid and unpaid: online work exchanges, crowdfunding, online volunteering and internet-mediated work exchanges (time banks).
    Keywords: Employability, Information Society, Work, Employment, Social Inclusion, Volunteering, Skills, Internet
    JEL: D64 J24 L31 L32
    Date: 2014–04
  4. By: Johansson, Per (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy); Karimi, Arizo (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy); Nilsson, Peter (Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES), Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper studies gender differences in the extent to which social preferences affect workers' shirking decisions. Using exogenous variation in work absence induced by a randomized field experiment that increased treated workers' absence, we find that also non-treated workers increased their absence as a response. Furthermore, we find that male workers react more strongly to decreased monitoring, but no significant gender difference in the extent to which workers are influenced by peers. However, our results suggest significant heterogeneity in the degree of influence that male and female workers exert on each other: conditional on the potential exposure to same-sex co-workers, men are only affected by their male peers, and women are only affected by their female peers.
    Keywords: Peer effects; employer-employee data; work absence; randomized field experiment
    JEL: C23 C93 J24
    Date: 2014–04–15
  5. By: Hannes Rusch (University of Giessen)
    Abstract: Phenomena like meat sharing in hunter-gatherers, altruistic self-sacrifice in intergroup conflicts, and contribution to the production of public goods in laboratory experiments have led to the development of numerous theories trying to explain human prosocial preferences and behavior. Many of these focus on direct and indirect reciprocity, assortment, or (cultural) group selection. Here, I investigate analytically how genetic relatedness changes the incentive structure of that paradigmatic game which is conventionally used to model and experimentally investigate collective action problems: the public goods game. Using data on contemporary hunter-gatherer societies I then estimate a threshold value determining when biological altruism turns into maximizing inclusive fitness in this game. I find that, on average, contributing no less than about 40% of individual fitness to public goods production still is an optimal strategy from an inclusive fitness perspective under plausible socio-ecological conditions.
    JEL: B15 C72 D64 H41
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Angerer, Silvia; Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela; Lergetporer, Philipp Jürgen Huber; Sutter, Matthias
    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
  7. By: Gary Charness; Francesco Feri; Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: In this paper, we describe a series of laboratory experiments that implement specific examples of a more general network structure and we examine equilibrium selection. Specifically, actions are either strategic substitutes or strategic complements, and participants have either complete or incomplete information about the structure of a random network. Since economic environments typically have a considerable degree of complementarity or substitutability, this framework applies to a wide variety of settings. The degree of equilibrium play is striking, in particular with incomplete information. Behavior closely resembles the theoretical equilibrium whenever this is unique; when there are multiple equilibria, general features of networks, such as connectivity, clustering, and the degree of the players, help to predict informed behavior in the lab. People appear to be strongly attracted to maximizing aggregate payoffs (social efficiency), but there are forces that moderate this attraction: 1) people seem content with (in the aggregate) capturing only the lion’s share of the efficient profits in exchange for reduced exposure to loss, and 2) uncertainty about the network structure makes it considerably more difficult to coordinate on a demanding, but efficient, equilibrium that is typically implemented with complete information.
    Keywords: Random networks, Incomplete information, Connectivity, Clustering, Strategic substitutes, Strategic complements, Experiment
    JEL: C71 C91 D03 D85
    Date: 2014–04
  8. By: Ojeaga, Paul; Odejimi, Deborah
    Abstract: This study investigates factors that affect sociability ratings among youths between 10 to 30 years of age in Nigeria, using a survey carried out in Ife town. The results show that in- school females were likely to socialize more than out of school females. Schooling was found to be affecting youth sociability rating in general. There was also a noticeable level of reduced socialization among out of school youths as it was found that they were less likely to interact as much as in-school youths owing to their family backgrounds. The implication of the findings is that schooling does affect the level of social interaction among youths in general since youths out of school had some level of inferiority complex that prevented them from socializing with in-school youths.
    Keywords: Extraversion, Gender Comparison, Schooling, Sociability
    JEL: J11 J16
    Date: 2013–07–13
  9. By: Rong Rong (Department of Economics, Weber State University); Daniel Houser (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)
    Abstract: Communication between departments within a firm may include deception. Theory suggests that telling lies in these environments may be strategically optimal if there exists a small difference in monetary incentives (Crawford and Sobel, 1982; Galeotti et al, 2012). We design a laboratory experiment to investigate whether agents with different monetary incentives in a network environment behave according to theoretical predictions. We found that players’ choices are consistent with the theory. That is, most communication within an incentive group is truthful and deception often occurs between subjects from different groups. These results have important implications for intra-organizational conflict management, demonstrating that in order to minimize deceptive communication between departments the firm may need to reduce incentive differences between these groups. Length: 19
    Keywords: social networks, deception, strategic information transmission, experiments
    JEL: D85 D02 C92
    Date: 2014–04
  10. By: Guner, Duygu (K.U.Leuven); Uysal, Gökce (Bahcesehir University)
    Abstract: Does culture affect female labor supply? In this paper, we address this question using a recent approach to measuring the effects of culture on economic outcomes, i.e. the epidemiological approach. We focus on migrants, who come from different cultures, but who share a common economic and institutional set-up today. Controlling for various individual characteristics including parental human capital as well as for current economic and institutional setup, we find that female employment rates in 1970 in a female migrant's province of origin affects her labor supply behavior in 2008. We also show that it is the female employment rates and not male in the province of origin in 1970 that affects the current labor supply behavior. We also extend the epidemiological approach to analyze the effects of religion on female labor supply. More specifically, we use a proxy of parental religiosity, i.e. share of party votes in 1973 elections in Turkey to study female labor supply in 2008. Our findings indicate that female migrants from provinces that had larger (smaller) shares of the religious party votes in 1973 are less (more) likely to participate in the labor market in 2008. An extended model where both cultural and religiosity proxies are included shows that culture and religiosity have separately significant effects on female labor supply behavior.
    Keywords: culture, female labor force participation, gender
    JEL: J16 J21 Z10
    Date: 2014–04

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