nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒05‒24
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
La Sapienza University of Rome

  1. Friendship Network in the Classroom: Parent Bias and Peer Effects By Landini, Fabio; Montinari, Natalia; Pin, Paolo; Piovesan, Marco
  2. It Wasn't Me! Visibility and Free Riding in Waste Sorting By Bucciol, Alessandro; Montinari, Natalia; Piovesan, Marco
  3. Do Social Networks Improve the Effectiveness of Incentive-Based Health Programs By Schroeter, Christiane; Richards, Tim; Hamilton, Steve
  4. Small business performance in West African border regions: Do social networks pay off? By KUEPIE Mathias; TENIKUE Michel; WALTHER Olivier
  5. The Impact of Social Media Conversations on Consumer Brands By Liu, Yiazo; Lopez, Rigoberto
  6. Risk Attitudes, Social Interactions and the Adoption of Genotyping in Dairy Production By Yu, Xi; Hailu, Getu; Cao, Jessica
  7. Social Networks and Restaurant Choice By Richards, Timothy J.; Tiwari, Ashutosh
  8. The Influence of Social Networks on Food Choices in College Food Courts By Wang, Dan; Grebitus, Carola; Schroeter, Christiane
  9. Food Choices under Stress: Considering Internet Usage and Social Support By Drescher, Larissa S.; Hasselbach, Johanna
  10. Influences of Social Networks on Food Choices: A Comparison of Local, Regional, and National Perspectives By Liang, Chyi-Lyi (Kathleen); Pescatore, Matthew
  11. Predictable and Predictive Emotions: Explaining Cheap Signals and Trust Re-Extension By Eric Schniter; Roman M. Sheremeta
  12. Virtual Social Currencies for Unemployed People: Social Networks and Job Market Access By Maëlle Della Peruta; Dominique Torre
  14. Viable territorial development in Kabylia. A social capital approach By Cécile Perret
  15. Social Learning and Communication By Ariel BenYishay; A. Mushfiq Mobarak

  1. By: Landini, Fabio (Bocconi University); Montinari, Natalia (Department of Economics, Lund University); Pin, Paolo (Università di Siena); Piovesan, Marco (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We interview both parents and their children enrolled in six primary schools in the district of Treviso (Italy). We study the structural differences between the children network of friends reported by children and the one elicited asking their parents. We find that the parents’ network has a bias: parents expect peer effects on school achievement to be stronger than what they really are. Thus, parents of low-performing students report their children to be friends of high-performing students. Our numerical simulations indicate that when this bias is combined with a bias on how some children target friends, then there is a multiplier effect on the expected school achievement.
    Keywords: social networks; primary school; friendships; parents’ bias; homophily; peer effects; Bonacich centrality
    JEL: D85 I21 Z13
    Date: 2014–05–18
  2. By: Bucciol, Alessandro (University of Verona); Montinari, Natalia (Department of Economics, Lund University); Piovesan, Marco (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Free riding problems can be more severe in multiple-person social dilemmas than in two-person dilemmas, since agents can hide their actions behind the veil of anonymity. In this paper, we use field data on waste sorting to study the effect of visibility in social dilemmas. We compare the sorting behavior of households sharing (or not) their bin for unsorted waste. Since households have to pay a fee proportional to their unsorted waste production, sharing the bin means sharing the fee. We find that, on average, household unsorted waste production is higher if three or more households share the same bin. Surprisingly, when only two households share the same bin, and therefore the household sorting behavior can be identified, unsorted waste production decreases compared to users not sharing the bin. Our interpretation is that shame and fear of punishment may play a role between the two sharing users.
    Keywords: Social Dilemmas; Free Riding; Visibility; Waste Management
    JEL: D01 D78 Q53
    Date: 2014–05–18
  3. By: Schroeter, Christiane; Richards, Tim; Hamilton, Steve
    Abstract: Although studies have shown that financial incentives are effective in promoting healthy behaviors, existing interventions have focused on adults in the workforce (e.g. Kullgren et al. 2013). Given that the school environment can be an effective instrument for behavior change, there is a need to examine incentive-based health programs in late-adolescent age groups. Largescale observational studies with about 9,000 freshmen at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) show that every year of college was associated with a 3% BMI increase, especially among minority populations. Reversing or slowing this dynamic has proven difficult because students entering university are newly independent, not experienced in making their own lifedecisions, and encounter many distractions (Nazmi et. al. 2012). On the other hand, university students are uniquely social and social networks have been shown to be effective in leading to behavioral change. Indeed, emerging evidence on peer networks suggests that health behaviors and outcomes are shared, transferred, and influenced through social ties (Christakis and Fowler, 2007; Cohen-Cohen-Cole and Fletcher, 2008). However, few interventions have been designed to capitalize on the behavioral pathways of social networks. The primary purpose of our intervention study is to determine whether financial incentives, mediated by social network effects, are effective in achieving improved diet quality outcomes as measured by the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI). We will conduct a 3.5-month parallel-design, randomized controlled trial with a racially and ethnically diverse sample of participants who consume food in campus cafeterias. Our findings will provide a unique contribution by testing the efficiency of interventions in structural transmission networks. Given the ubiquitous and increasing existence of social networks, our applications are readily transferrable at relatively low cost to other largescale student populations in elementary, middle, and high schools.
    Keywords: Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Health Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2014
  4. By: KUEPIE Mathias; TENIKUE Michel; WALTHER Olivier
    Abstract: This paper studies the link between economic performance and social networks in West Africa. Using first-hand data collected on 358 small-scale traders in five border markets between Niger, Nigeria and Benin, we are particularly interested in testing whether the most well-connected actors of trade networks are also the most successful in terms of monthly sales and profit. The paper shows that the overall economic performance of traders is affected by the socio-professional position of the actors with whom they are connected. While social ties with local religious leaders have no effect on their business, support received from civil servants, politicians, and security authorities translates into economic performance. The paper also shows significant differences between countries, regions and marketplaces. Social connections developed with state representatives have a much greater effect on economic performances in Niger and Benin than in Nigeria, where average profit is much higher. Experience is more closely correlated with profit in the region where traders have developed re-export trade activities than where petty trade is the dominant form of business.
    Keywords: Social networks; border markets; economic performance; Benin; Niger; Nigeria
    JEL: D85 F14 L14 R11
    Date: 2014–05
  5. By: Liu, Yiazo; Lopez, Rigoberto
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics, Institutional and Behavioral Economics,
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Yu, Xi; Hailu, Getu; Cao, Jessica
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of risk attitudes and social interactions on technology adoption using a survey of dairy producers in Ontario. We find strong evidence that social interactions and risk attitudes have significant effects on the willingness to pay for DNA genotyping service for susceptibility to chronic mastitis in dairy.
    Keywords: Technology Adoption, Risk Attitudes, and Social Network, Livestock Production/Industries, Q16, C81, C83,
    Date: 2014–04
  7. By: Richards, Timothy J.; Tiwari, Ashutosh
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics, Health Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2014–04–04
  8. By: Wang, Dan; Grebitus, Carola; Schroeter, Christiane
    Abstract: Obesity is still on the rise, leading to high costs for the obese individual itself but also for society. We analyze the influence of peer effects on food choices in lunchrooms with posted nutrition facts. Data were collected in a lunchroom at a large U.S. university. Groups of four patrons each were interviewed for a total of 112 observations. Among others, results for calories consumed from pizza and pasta show that individuals who are dining in groups with at least one obese group member are taking in more calories. Looking at nutrition facts when ordering the food decreases calorie intake. The results suggest that dining with obese peers increases the probability of obesity while calorie labeling decreases the probability. In terms of nutrition signposting this is a promising result. However, only 15% of the sample had used the nutrition facts to make all their food choice, which leads to the conclusion that overall attention to nutrition labeling needs to be increased.
    Keywords: buffet, calorie labeling, menu labeling, obesity, peers, students, Consumer/Household Economics, Health Economics and Policy, Institutional and Behavioral Economics,
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Drescher, Larissa S.; Hasselbach, Johanna
    Abstract: It is a known fact that stress negatively affects food choices. Consequentially, this paper analyzes three different research questions using a sample of 330 international students in Germany. Firstly, it is observed if stress affects students’ motivations to eat, i.e. if it triggers changes in the motivation behind food choices. Results show that this is not the case. Secondly, it is tested if social support acts as a buffer on the relationship between stress and healthy eating, similarly to the model proposed by Lakey and Cohen (2000), where social support buffers the negative consequences of stress on health. Specifically, it is tested whether social support affects Internet usage and subsequently if Internet usage is a coping strategy and eases the negative consequences of stress on healthy eating. Taking into account that there is no effect of social support on Internet usage and since Internet usage does not moderate the relationship between stress and healthy eating, the paper continues to show that instead social support is a moderator for the relationship between stress and healthy eating. Interestingly however, Internet usage has a direct and positive relationship with healthy eating, i.e. the more the Internet is used the healthier do students eat. Thirdly, the paper elaborates on the question if students in Germany use the Internet as an information source for diet and health related problems for example on social media sites and additionally if the use of this information did change their dietary behavior. Results show that people with high dietary information search tendencies are 1.76 times more likely to change their diets due to the information found online. The results of this study are important for public policy measures dealing with student health.
    Keywords: Stress, healthy eating, Food Choice Motives, Internet usage, social support, comfort eating, Consumer/Household Economics, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Health Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2014
  10. By: Liang, Chyi-Lyi (Kathleen); Pescatore, Matthew
    Abstract: There has been a growing interest in the U.S. to study local and regional food systems with respect to economic, social, and enterprise development. This paper discusses a series of on-going projects funded by the USDA focusing on two aspects of the relationships between social network and food choices – producers, and interactions between producers and consumers (buyers). Preliminary results showed distribution and opportunities for agricultural producers to exploit and implement new strategies that would enhance marketing and management by taking advantage of the capacity of social/economic networks in/around communities. Long-term goal on completion these studies will compare and contrast local, regional, and national approaches to design and implement effective marketing and management strategies that aim to promote local/regional food networks from social, economic, and ecological perspectives.
    Keywords: Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Marketing,
    Date: 2014–05
  11. By: Eric Schniter (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University); Roman M. Sheremeta (Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University and Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Despite normative predictions from economics and biology, unrelated strangers can often develop the trust necessary to reap gains from one-shot economic exchange opportunities. This appears to be especially true when declared intentions and emotions can be cheaply communicated. Perhaps even more puzzling to economists and biologists is the observation that anonymous and unrelated individuals, known to have breached trust, often make effective use of cheap signals, such as promises and apologies, to encourage trust re-extension. We used a pair of trust games with one-way communication and emotion surveys to investigate the role of emotions in regulating the propensity to message, apologize, re-extend trust, and demonstrate trustworthiness. This design allowed us to observe the endogenous emergence and natural distribution of trust-relevant behaviors, remedial strategies used by promise-breakers, their effects on behavior, and subsequent outcomes. We found that emotions triggered by interaction outcomes are predictable and also predict subsequent apology and trust re-extension. The role of emotions in behavioral regulation helps explain why messages are produced, when they can be trusted, and when trust will be re-extended.
    Keywords: emotions, promises, apologies, trust game, reciprocity, experiments
    Date: 2014
  12. By: Maëlle Della Peruta (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France; GREDEG CNRS); Dominique Torre (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France; GREDEG CNRS)
    Abstract: Alternative currencies continue to develop all around the world, taking various forms (material or immaterial) and fulfill various functions. They are created in order to promote the local economy development and to fight against social exclusion. They are principally aimed to low income people (retired or unemployed people, or people who are living with a low wage). In this paper, we analyze the particular case of virtual currency circulation inside a local community of unemployed people. We elaborate on the assumptions that the organization of LETS and the circulation of complementary currencies have two properties: (i) they help unemployed workers to overcome the double coincidence of want necessity of an informal sector founded on barter exchange; (ii) they help to maintain and develop workers' skills outside job, helping them to observe opportunities of employment even as long-term unemployed workers. We study the global properties of a job market associating traditional short-term and long-term unemployment to the organization of LETS. Using a theoretical Pissarides-style model, we find that the initial level of trust of agents in the complementary currency(cies) but also the effective properties of this(these) currency(cies) are crucial for LETS to become permanent institutions. We also find that if the stationary equilibrium of the job-market includes LETS, then LETS have a positive influence on the rate of employment, on the expected utility of employed workers, and are Pareto improving when the benchmark case is a job market without any LETS.
    Keywords: Social currencies, complementary currencies, unemployment, informal sector
    JEL: E42 E24
    Date: 2014–05
  13. By: Galluzzo, Nicola
    Abstract: New information communication technology is a good opportunity to exchange information and to get feedback from customers shortening the traditional channel of social relationships. In different countries over the time there has been a significant growth of social interactions by social networks but in Italian farms internet and social networks are not so widespread. Anyway farmers specialized in certified quality food are more involved in using internet and social media with the purpose to increase their commercialization opportunities. The quantitative method of analysis has been pivotal to estimate the role of Italian farms in tackling the challenges of social network and internet. Summing up, social networks and internet may be the best chances to solve the sense of remoteness in rural areas in particular in Italy where the generational turn-over, by many initiatives financed by the Common Agricultural Policy both in 2000-2006 and also in 2007-2013, has been intense enough to develop a young generation of farmers highly sensitive in using social media and proud to be a part of these virtual communities.
    Keywords: Certified quality food, Kohonen map, multiple regression model, agro-tourism, rural diversification, International Development, International Relations/Trade,
    Date: 2014
  14. By: Cécile Perret (IREGE - Institut de Recherche en Gestion et en Economie - Université de Savoie - Institut d'Administration des Entreprises (IAE) - Savoie Mont-Blanc)
    Abstract: Using a decomposition of social capital nature, this research proposes an original analysis of the interactions between the social, the environmental, the governance and the economic sphere and their impact on a viable development in Kabylia, where the "art of association" is the expression of territoriality. When the governance is bad and/or when there is distrust in institutions, populations, according to their culture and to their territory, get organized to find solutions to the missing public goods. In Kabylia, the survival of an ancestral social organization anchored in the tradition and rooted values allow the local populations to overcome their difficulties.
    Keywords: Social capital, Social ties, Kabylia, Algeria
    Date: 2014
  15. By: Ariel BenYishay; A. Mushfiq Mobarak
    Abstract: Low adoption of agricultural technologies holds large productivity consequences for developing countries. Agricultural extension services counter information failures by deploying external agents to communicate with farmers. However, social networks are recognized as the most credible source of information about new technologies. We incorporate social learning in extension policy using a large-scale field experiment in which we communicate to farmers using different members of social networks. We show that communicator effort is susceptible to small performance incentives, and the social identity of the communicator influences learning and adoption. Farmers find communicators who face agricultural conditions and constraints most comparable to themselves to be the most persuasive. Incorporating communication dynamics can take the influential social learning literature in a more policy-relevant direction.
    JEL: O13 O33 Q16
    Date: 2014–05

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