nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒08‒09
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Dynamics of Personal Norms and the Emergence of Cultural Diversity By Vicente Calabuig; Gonzalo Olcina; Fabrizio Panebianco
  2. The dark side of Chinese growth: Explaining decreasing well-being in times of economic boom. By Bartolini, Stefano; Sarracino, Francesco
  3. The Word on Banking - Social Ties, Trust, and the Adoption of Financial Products. By Eleonora Patacchini; Edoardo Rainone
  4. What Policies Increase Prosocial Behavior? An Experiment with Referees at the Journal of Public Economics By Raj Chetty; Emmanuel Saez; László Sándor
  5. Do Acquaintances and Friends Make Us Learn?: Social Capital and Lifelong Learning in Germany By Anna-Elisabeth Thum; Miroslav Beblavy
  6. Relational Warm Glow and Giving in Social Groups By Scharf, Kimberley; Smith, Sarah
  7. Social Risk - the Role of Warmth and Competence By Jeffrey V. Butler; Joshua B. Miller
  8. Strictness of tax compliance norms: A factorial survey on the acceptance of inheritance tax evasion in Germany By Abraham, Martin; Lorek, Kerstin; Richter, Friedemann; Wrede, Matthias
  9. Measuring Gender Differences in Information Sharing Using Network Analysis: the Case of the Austrian Interlocking Directorship Network in 2009 By Carlo Drago; Livia Amidani Aliberti; Davide Carbonai
  10. Collective Action and Armed Group Presence in Colombia By Margarita Gáfaro; Ana Maria Ibáñez; Patricia Justino
  11. Creative success and network embeddedness: Explaining critical recognition of film directors in Hollywood, 1900-2010 By Lutter, Mark
  12. Rainfall risk and religious membership in the late Nineteenth-Century United States By Philipp Ager; Antonio Ciccone

  1. By: Vicente Calabuig (ERICES, Universidad de Valencia); Gonzalo Olcina (ERICES, Universidad de Valencia); Fabrizio Panebianco (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: In this paper we study cultural diversity in values or personal norms concerning effort or work ethics, the related and observable diversity in behavior and its economic consequences. Our goal is to investigate the impact on this type of cultural diversity of primitive economic and behavioral parameters of the group such as the distribution of skills in the group population, the sharing rule on total income that determines income distribution and the levels of materialism, conformism and consistency in the group. Agents participate each period in a team production game by choosing their level of costly effort. We analyze the emergence and evolution of a culture in a group in which members are guided by economic incentives and also follow personal norms of behavior. We take materialism, skills and the income distribution rule as given, but personal norms evolve along the life-cycle of the individuals according to two psychological forces: cognitive dissonance or consistency and informational conformity. We characterize the long-run outcomes of the group and study how the levels of diversity, both in personal norms and in behavior and the level of incoherence between both variables are determined by the primitives of the model. We also analyze how these parameters affect group aggregate production and social welfare.
    Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Personal Norms, Consistency, Conformity JEL
    JEL: C72 C69 D03
    Date: 2014–07
  2. By: Bartolini, Stefano; Sarracino, Francesco
    Abstract: The formidable economic growth of China in the past few decades led to outstanding improvements in virtually all objective indicators of standards of life. However, these objective records are in striking contrast with subjective ones. Between 1990 and 2007, Chinese average subjective well-being substantially declined. Using data from the World Values Survey, this paper identifies the predictors of the trend of life satisfaction in China between 1990 and 2007. Our findings suggest that subjective data capture something that objective data miss and that can explain the decrease in well-being: the increase in the importance of social comparisons and the decline of social capital. Moreover, economic growth resulted in higher well-being inequality: those in the lowest three income deciles and the middle-class experienced a significant reduction in well-being, whereas the latter increased among richer people. Differences in the erosion of social capital and in the impact of social comparisons seem to be the key to well-being differences among classes.
    Keywords: China; Easterlin paradox; GDP; economic growth; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; social capital; Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition; WVS
    JEL: I31 O12 O15
    Date: 2014–08–05
  3. By: Eleonora Patacchini (Cornell University, EIEF and CEPR); Edoardo Rainone (Banca d'Italia and Università di Roma "La Sapienza")
    Abstract: This paper studies the importance of social interactions for the adoption of financial products. We exploit a unique dataset of friendships among United States students and a novel estimation strategy that accounts for possibly endogenous network formation. We find that not all social contacts are equally important: only those with a long-lasting relationship influence financial decisions. Moreover, the correlation in agents' behavior only arises among long-lasting ties in cohesive network structures. This evidence is consistent with an important role of trust in financial decisions. Repeated interactions generate trust among agents, which in turn aggregate in tightly knit groups. When agents have to decide whether or not to adopt a financial instrument they face a risk and might place greater value on information coming from agents they trust. These results can help to understand the growing importance of face-to-face social contacts for financial decisions.
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Raj Chetty; Emmanuel Saez; László Sándor
    Abstract: We evaluate policies to increase prosocial behavior using a field experiment with 1,500 referees at the Journal of Public Economics. We randomly assign referees to four groups: a control group with a six week deadline to submit a referee report, a group with a four week deadline, a cash incentive group rewarded with $100 for meeting the four week deadline, and a social incentive group in which referees were told that their turnaround times would be publicly posted. We obtain four sets of results. First, shorter deadlines reduce the time referees take to submit reports substantially. Second, cash incentives significantly improve speed, especially in the week before the deadline. Cash payments do not crowd out intrinsic motivation: after the cash treatment ends, referees who received cash incentives are no slower than those in the 4 week deadline group. Third, social incentives have smaller but significant effects on review times and are especially effective among tenured professors, who are less sensitive to deadlines and cash incentives. Fourth, all the treatments have little or no effect on agreement rates, quality of reports, or review times at other journals. We conclude that small changes in journals’ policies could substantially expedite peer review at little cost. More generally, price incentives, nudges, and social pressure are effective and complementary methods of increasing prosocial behavior.
    Date: 2014–01
  5. By: Anna-Elisabeth Thum; Miroslav Beblavy
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between social capital and adult learning. We test this association empirically using measures of various types of social capital and adult learning based on the German Socioeconomic Panel. We use predetermined measures of social capital to exclude social skills or friends encountered during the adult education class. Fixed e¤ects for latent underlying factors such as deep personality traits and instrumental variables account for changing personality traits. We …find that most of our social capital measures have a signi…cant and positive impact on the probabilities for investing in various types of adult learning. The size of the effect varies across the different measures between increasing the probability of participating in adult learning by 0.04% to increasing the probability by 17%. We find evidence that acquaintances are more likely to increase participation in adult learning than friends.
    Keywords: social capital, lifelong learning, informal learning, trust, reciprocity, sociability
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Scharf, Kimberley (The University of Warwick); Smith, Sarah (University of Bristol)
    Abstract: Using a newly collected dataset on inquisitorial activity for seven regions, fourteen provinces and 947 municipalities, I analyze the long-term economic consequences of the Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834). I show that inquisitorial activity is negatively associated to regional and provincial economic growth (an increase of a thousand inquisitorial trials is associated with 3% to 5% lower urbanization rates). At the municipal level, I find that municipalities a.ected by the Inquisition experienced an annual population growth rate 0.11% lower than their counterparts. This result is robust when controlling for alternative explanatory factors, such as pre-existent religiosity and proxies for trade activity. I explore three channels through which the Inquisition may have had an impact on economic outcomes. While inquisitorial activity is not linked to levels of trust or social polarization, I find it is negatively associated with the adoption of new technologies and the creation of municipal centres of cultural transmission.
    Keywords: Online giving; Fundraising; Social groups; Donations; Charity; Warm glow
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Jeffrey V. Butler (EIEF); Joshua B. Miller (Università Bocconi and IGIER)
    Abstract: Previous research has documented a behavioral distinction between "social risk" and financial risk. For example, individuals tend to demand a premium on the objective probability of a favorable outcome when that outcome is determined by a human being instead of a randomizing device (Bohnet, Greig, Herrmann, and Zeckhauser 2008; Bohnet and Zeckhauser 2004). In this paper we ask whether social risk is always aversive, answering in the negative and identifying factors that can eliminate, or even change the sign of, the social risk premium. Motivated by the stereotype content model from the social psychology literature, which we argue has straightforward predictions for situations involving social risk (Fiske, Cuddy, and Glick 2007), we focus on two factors: "warmth," synonymous with intent, and "competence." We investigate these factors using a between-subjects experimental design that implements slight modifications of the binary trust game of Bohnet and Zeckhauser across treatments. Our results indicate that having risk generated by another human being does not, on its own, lead to a social risk premium. Instead, we find that a positive risk premium is demanded when a counter-party has interests confl icting with one's own (low warmth) and, additionally, is competent. We find a negative social risk premium - i.e., social risk seeking - when the counter-party has contrary interests but lacks competence.
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Abraham, Martin; Lorek, Kerstin; Richter, Friedemann; Wrede, Matthias
    Abstract: Using the example of the inheritance tax, this paper examines whether and how the strictness of tax compliance norms depends on the interrelation between tax objectives, tax design, and taxed behavior. Building on the literature on tax evasion, optimal inheritance taxation, family economics, and social norms, the paper hypothesizes that a larger non-declared amount of transfer decreases the acceptability of tax evasion and that both an asset with emotional value and a higher degree of kinship increase the acceptance of evasion. Utilizing a survey with an experimental design on the acceptance of inheritance tax evasion that was conducted in Germany in 2012, the paper confirms these hypotheses empirically. The results indicate that violating a compliance norm is justifiable if the tax objectives are not infringed upon by the evasion or if the tax design is not considered useful to accomplish the aim of the tax. In contrast, the norm violation is less acceptable, if the underlying goal is at stake. --
    Keywords: tax compliance,social norms,tax evasion,inheritance tax
    JEL: H21 H24 H26
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Carlo Drago (University of Rome “Niccolò Cusano”); Livia Amidani Aliberti (Nedcommunity – amministratori non esecutivi ed indipendenti); Davide Carbonai (Universidade Federal do Pampa)
    Abstract: In recent literature a relevant problem has been the relationship between career/personal contactnetworks and different career paths. In addition the recent advances in social capital theory have shown the way in which networks impact on personal careers. In particular women’s careers appear to be negatively affected by the informational network structure. The main contribution of this work is to propose empirical evidence of this phenomenon by considering the gendered directorship network with relation to Austria and to show the structural differences by gender in the network. By using community detection techniques we have found various communities in which females seem not to be present at all, where females show significantly fewer contacts than males in the network, and finally where the proportion of males exceeds 91%. The results show the predominant role in the network of male directors;these differences are very relevant if we consider the network as a tool of vehicle information and as a power mechanism. In this paper we wish to make an original contribution to the debate of the well-known “glass-ceiling” effect.
    Keywords: Glass ceiling, Gender Diversity, Social Network Analysis
    JEL: M14 M5 C60 C4
    Date: 2014–07
  10. By: Margarita Gáfaro; Ana Maria Ibáñez; Patricia Justino
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to provide empirical evidence on the mechanisms that shape the relationship between violent conflict and collective action. Conflict dynamics in Colombia allow us to exploit rich variation in armed group presence and individual participation in local organizations. Our identification strategy is based on the construction of contiguous-pairs of rural communities that share common socio-economic characteristics but differ in armed group presence. This allows us to control for unobservable variables that may affect local participation and conflict dynamics simultaneously. The results show that the presence of armed groups increases overall participation in local organizations, with a particularly strong effect on political organizations. Contrary to existing results, we find that stronger individual participation may arise from coercion exercised by armed groups and not from a more vibrant civil society.
    Keywords: collective action, political organizations, armed groups, violent shocks
    Date: 2014–07–11
  11. By: Lutter, Mark
    Abstract: This article analyzes how social network structures affect career success in a projectbased labor market. The literature on team success has shown that teams perform well if they integrate both weak and strong ties simultaneously. Applying the literature to careers in the creative industries, the study suggests that creative artists are more likely to receive critical recognition if they build their careers in both familiar project networks and heterogeneous sets of creative conventions. It is argued that familiarity and diversity operate as complementary elements in the development of innovative ideas. While diversity is important to maximize the flow of new ideas, it needs to be embedded within trustworthy and familiar network structures in order to fully develop its creative potential. The suggested mechanism is tested by means of full career data of 55,097 film directors, covering 478,859 directing jobs in 330,142 film productions during the years 1900-2010. It is shown that familiarity and diversity explain a considerable part of a director's critical success. Results from interaction effects show that diversity has greater effects on critical success if it is socially embedded within familiar social structures. The article contributes to the emerging understanding of the role of group processes and network structures in explaining individual career success. -- Dieser Artikel untersucht, wie soziale Netzwerkstrukturen Karriereerfolg auf einem projektbasierten Arbeitsmarkt bestimmen. Auf der Grundlage von Forschung zu Teamerfolg argumentiert der Beitrag, dass Karriereerfolg in Kreativberufen wahrscheinlicher wird, wenn Karrieren sich sowohl in vertrauten als auch in diversen, mit heterogenen Konventionen ausgestatteten Projektnetzwerken bewegen. Vertrautheit und Diversität wirken als komplementäre Elemente in der Entwicklung innovativer Ideen. Zwar fördert das Element der Diversität den optimalen Austausch neuer Ideen, allerdings muss es, damit sich sein kreatives Potenzial vollständig entfalten kann, zugleich in vertrauensvollen Netzwerkstrukturen eingebettet sein. Anhand eines vollständigen Karrieredatensatzes, der Karriereprofile von 55.097 Filmregisseuren in 478.859 Engagements und 330.142 Filmproduktionen in den Jahren 1900 bis 2010 einbezieht, wird dieser Mechanismus getestet. Es zeigt sich, dass sowohl Vertrautheit als auch Diversität einen Großteil des Kritiker- und Karriereerfolgs der Regisseure erklären. Interaktionseffekte zeigen zudem, dass Diversität einen stärkeren Effekt auf künstlerischen Erfolg ausübt, wenn sie in vertrauten Strukturen eingebettet ist. Insgesamt erweitert die Studie unser Verständnis davon, wie Gruppen- und Netzwerkstrukturen individuellen Karriereerfolg beeinflussen.
    Date: 2014
  12. By: Philipp Ager; Antonio Ciccone
    Abstract: Building on the idea that religious communities provide mutual insurance against some idiosyncratic risks, we argue that religious membership is more valuable in societies exposed to greater common risk. In our empirical analysis we exploit rainfall risk as a source of common economic risk in the nineteenth-century United States and show that religious communities were larger in counties where they faced greater rainfall risk. The link between rainfall risk and the size of religious communities is stronger in counties that were more agricultural, that had lower population densities, or that were exposed to greater rainfall risk during the growing season.
    Keywords: Religious community size, agricultural risk, informal insurance.
    Date: 2014–07

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