nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒08‒25
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Constitutions and Social Networks By Ana Mauleon; Nils Roehl; Vincent Vannetelbosch
  2. Reciprocity Networks and the Participation Problem By Dufwenberg, Martin; Patel, Amrish
  3. Social Identity, Education and Tax Policy By Aronsson, Thomas; Heidrich, Stefanie; Wikström, Magnus
  4. The role of social norms in incentivising energy reduction in organisations By Peter Bradley; Matthew Leach; Shane Fudge
  5. Trust and European-Russian Energy Cooperation: The Case of Oil and Gas Partnerships and Long-term Contracts By Marc Ozawa
  6. Social Mobility and the Importance of Networks: Evidence for Britain By Marcenaro Gutierrez, Oscar; Micklewright, John; Vignoles, Anna
  7. How To Safeguard World Heritage Sites? A Theoretical Model of "Cultural Responsibility" By Leonardo Becchetti; Nazaria Solferino; Maria Elisabetta Tessitore
  8. Honesty and Trade By Michael T. Rauh; Giulio Seccia
  9. Social Risk: the Role of Warmth and Competence By Jeffrey V. Butler; Joshua B. Miller

  1. By: Ana Mauleon (Saint-Louis University — Brussels); Nils Roehl (University of Paderborn); Vincent Vannetelbosch (CORE, University of Louvain)
    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: 2014–01
  2. By: Dufwenberg, Martin (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Patel, Amrish (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Reciprocity can be a powerful motivation for human behaviour. Scholars argue that it is relevant in the context of private provision of public goods. We examine whether reciprocity can resolve the associated coordination problem. The interaction of reciprocity with cost-sharing is critical. Neither cost-sharing nor reciprocity in isolation can solve the problem, but together they have that potential. We introduce new network notions of reciprocity relations to better understand this. Our analysis uncovers an intricate web of nuances that demonstrate the attainable yet elusive nature of a unique outcome.
    Keywords: discrete public good; participation; reciprocity networks; coordination; cost-sharing
    JEL: C72 D03 H41
    Date: 2014–08–13
  3. By: Aronsson, Thomas (Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics); Heidrich, Stefanie (Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics); Wikström, Magnus (Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the implications of social identity and self-categorization in the context of optimal redistributive income taxation. A two-type model is supplemented by an assumption that individuals select themselves into social categories, in which norms are formed and education effort choices partly depend on these norms. Optimal tax policy is analyzed under two different assumptions about the social objective function: a welfarist objective based on consumer preferences and a paternalist objective that does not reflect the consumer preference for social identity. We show how the welfarist government implements a tax policy to internalize the externalities arising from social norms, while the paternalist government uses tax policy to make individuals behave as if their preferences for social identity were absent.
    Keywords: Optimal income taxation; education; social identity; self-categorization
    JEL: D03 H21 I21 Z13
    Date: 2014–08–19
  4. By: Peter Bradley (University of the West of England, Bristol); Matthew Leach (University of Surrey); Shane Fudge (University of Surrey)
    Abstract: This study was part of a collaborative trial for an energy feedback intervention, providing detailed individual desk based energy feedback information to help individuals reduce energy in an office environment. Although the intervention was individually based, this paper explores the social context in which the intervention took place, and in particular attempted to measure changes in normative influence (descriptive and injunctive norms) around specific energy services, before and after the intervention. Results from the study identified that social norms around certain energy services changed as a result of the intervention, and the level of descriptive norms was found to have an effect on the energy efficiency of participants. Additionally interviews which were carried out during the study are insightful in helping understand how norms emerge and spread with the influence of social context and related factors. Interviews indicate strong interactions between technologies/technology policy and social context. The findings are highly relevant in the current age of fast paced technology change where businesses and governments often make decisions on what ICT technologies shall be introduced and used (such as smart metering), without fully considering the two way relationship between these technologies and social context.
    Keywords: social norms; social context; organization; CSR; environmental; energy; demand response; smart metering; behaviour; descriptive norms; injunctive norms
    JEL: Q41 Q57
    Date: 2014–01–04
  5. By: Marc Ozawa
    Abstract: This study argues that, in addition to political and economic factors, the level of trust between decision makers influenced outcomes in European-Russian energy cooperation. Drawing on selected cases of commercial partnerships and long-term contracts, it examines the impact of trust and the process by which it was developed or undermined between European and Russian partners. The findings are the following. Firstly, trust appeared to mitigate suspicion and encouraged cooperation between commercial and political actors. Secondly, when trust was present, conflicts of interest were more easily overcome while in its absence, a spiral of litigation and attempts at political coercion ensued. Thirdly, the development of trust was partially determined by history, collective memories and pre-existing political and economic conditions. At the same time, actors had the option to make decisions that could contribute to building trust or not. Fourthly, the analysis demonstrates a wide variation in levels of trust between West European companies and politicians toward Russia. And finally, it underscores the importance of interpersonal relations and energy companies as non-state actors. Because of the size and scope of these projects, the trust factor has implications not only on commercial ventures but also national economies, energy security and international relations.
    Keywords: Trust, natural gas, oil, trade, cooperation, Europe, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, networks, relations, long term contracts, European Union
    Date: 2014–08–04
  6. By: Marcenaro Gutierrez, Oscar (University of Malaga); Micklewright, John (Institute of Education, University of London); Vignoles, Anna (University of Cambridge)
    Abstract: Greater levels of social mobility are widely seen as desirable on grounds of both equity and efficiency. Debate on social mobility in Britain and elsewhere has recently focused on specific factors that might hinder social mobility, including the role of internships and similar employment opportunities that parents can sometimes secure for their children. We address the help that parents give their children in the job market using data from the new age 42 wave of the 1970 British Cohort Study. We consider help given to people from all family backgrounds and not just to graduates and those in higher level occupations who have tended to be the focus in the debate in Britain. Specifically, our data measure whether respondents had ever had help to get a job from (i) parents and (ii) other relatives and friends and the form of that help. We first assess the extent and type of help. We then determine whether people from higher socio-economic status families are more or less likely to have such help and whether the help is associated with higher wages and higher occupations. Our paper provides insight into whether the strong link between parental socio-economic background and the individual's own economic success can be explained in part by the parents assisting their children to get jobs. We find parental help to have a strong social gradient. But we are unable to identify a clear link between any particular type of help – advice, help through contacts etc. – and individuals' wages or occupations.
    Keywords: social mobility, networks, family, wages
    JEL: J62
    Date: 2014–08
  7. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Nazaria Solferino (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Maria Elisabetta Tessitore (University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: We outline a model in which preservation of UNESCO heritage sites is analyzed as a classical global public good problem where the decentralized Nash equilibrium yields suboptimal contribution vis-à-vis the Social Planner equilibrium. The absence of a Global Social Planner and the need of coordination across different countries for the implementation of the second solution make the Social Planner equilibrium hardly attainable. The same problem arises when trying to enforce symmetric or asymmetric tax deductions in different countries. We analyse the contribution that cultural corporate responsibility can give to the solution of the problem discussing its limits and potential vis-à-vis the other two alternatives.
    Keywords: Public Goods, Firm Behavior, Cultural Economics
    JEL: H41 D21 Z1
    Date: 2014–07–18
  8. By: Michael T. Rauh (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business); Giulio Seccia (University of Shouthampton)
    Abstract: There is substantial evidence that many parents value honesty in their children and that trust is an important determinant of trade. There is also evidence that certain institutions (i.e., religious institutions) foster trust, trade, and economic growth. In this paper we consider a parent who can enroll her child in an imperfect institution which can make her child honest with some probability less than one. We assume that institutional membership is observable so that institutions serve as both imperfect socialization technologies and potentially informative signals that such socialization has taken place. We provide necessary and sucient conditions for nonzero investments in honesty in the two main benchmark models of exchange under asymmetric information: the basic two-type screening model and a game-theoretic version of Akerlof's market for lemons. Consistent with the evidence, we show that when non-zero socialization occurs in equilibrium it improves economic performance by increasing allocative eciency in the screening model and reducing adverse selection in the market for lemons.
    Keywords: deception, exchange, honesty, institutions, religion, trade, trust
    JEL: D02 D03 D82 Z1
    Date: 2014–04
  9. By: Jeffrey V. Butler; Joshua B. Miller
    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 con 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. JEL Classification: Z1, C91, D81 Keywords: Social Risk, Social Perception, Intention, Betrayal Aversion, Trust
    Date: 2014

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