nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒08‒28
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Diversity and Social Capital in the U.S: A Tale of Conflict, Contact or Total Mistrust? By Belton, Willie; Huq, Yameen; Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth
  2. Is it a Norm to Favour Your Own Group? By Donna Harris; Benedikt Herrmann; Andreas Kontoleon; Jonathan Newton
  3. Neighbourhood Turnover and Teenage Attainment By Gibbons, Steve; Silva, Olmo; Weinhardt, Felix
  4. On the Interpretation of Bribery in a Laboratory Corruption Game: Moral Frames and Social Norms By Ritwik Banerjee
  5. Self-employment Choices of Rural Migrants in China: Distance and Social Network By Zhou, Yexin; Chen, Mo; Ye, Jingyi
  6. Toward a Theory of the Entrepreneurial Process By Leyden, Dennis; Link, Albert
  7. Altruism and Self Control By Anna Dreber; Drew Fudenberg; David K Levine; David G Rand

  1. By: Belton, Willie (Georgia Institute of Technology); Huq, Yameen (Georgia Institute of Technology); Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth (Emory University)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the relationship between ethnic fractionalization and social capital. First, we test for time differences in the impact of ethnic fractionalization on social capital using U.S. data from 1990, 1997 and 2005. Subsequently we examine the data for evidence of the conflict, contact and hunker-down theories espoused by Putman in explaining what happens over time when individuals interact with those of differing ethnicities. We find no evidence of heterogeneity in the impact of ethnic fractionalization on social capital over time. In addition we find evidence of the conflict theory and no evidence of hunker-down or contact theories. Our results suggest that as communities become more diverse, there is a tendency for social capital to decline.
    Keywords: ethnic fractionalization, social capital, trust, diversity, social networks
    JEL: D71 Z10 J10 J19
    Date: 2014–08
  2. By: Donna Harris; Benedikt Herrmann; Andreas Kontoleon; Jonathan Newton
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between norm enforcement and in-group favouritism behaviour.� Using a new two-stage allocation experiment with punishments, we investigate whether in-group favouritism is considered as a social norm in itself or as a violation of a different norm, such as egalitarian norm.� We find that which norm of behaviour is enforced depends on who the punisher is.� If the punishers belong to the in-group, in-group favouritism is considered a norm and it does not get punished.� If the punishers belong to the out-group, in-group favouritism is frequently punished.� If the punishers belong to no group and merely observe in-group favouritism (the third-party), they do not seem to care sufficiently to be willing to punish this behavour.� Our results shed a new light on the effectiveness of altruistic norm enforcement when group identities are taken into account and help to explain why in-group favouritism is widespread across societies.
    Keywords: In-group Favouritism, Group Identity, Social Norms, In-group Punishment, Out-group Punishment, Third-party Punishment
    JEL: C92 D70 D73
    Date: 2014–08–15
  3. By: Gibbons, Steve (London School of Economics); Silva, Olmo (London School of Economics); Weinhardt, Felix (Humboldt University Berlin, DIW)
    Abstract: Theories about neighbours' influence on children based on social capital, cohesion and disorganisation stress the importance of neighbourhood stability. However, amongst the vast number of studies on the effect of neighbours on a child's education, none has tested whether neighbourhood stability matters. We fill this gap by estimating the causal effect of residential turnover on student test score gains. We show that high neighbourhood turnover reduces value added for students who stay in their neighbourhood, and this effect is more pronounced in more deprived neighbourhoods. Estimation is based on administrative data on four cohorts of secondary school children in England, allowing us to control for unobserved confounding individual effects, neighbourhood fixed effects and trends, plus school-by-cohort shocks. These main results, coupled with auxiliary findings based on survey data, suggest that neighbourhood turnover damages education through the disruption of local ties and social capital, highlighting a so-far undiscovered externality of mobility.
    Keywords: education, neighbourhood, turnover, social capital
    JEL: C21 I20 R23
    Date: 2014–08
  4. By: Ritwik Banerjee (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark)
    Abstract: Past studies on laboratory corruption games have not been able to find consistent evidence that subjects make “immoral” decisions. A possible reason, and also a critique of laboratory corruption games, is that the experiment may fail to trigger the intended immorality frame in the minds of the participants, leading many to question the very raison d’être of laboratory corruption games. To test this idea, we compare behavior in a harassment bribery game with a strategically identical but neutrally framed ultimatum game. The results show that fewer people, both as briber and bribee, engage in corruption in the bribery frame than in the alternative, suggesting that moral costs are indeed at work. To provide further support that the bribery game does measure moral costs, we elicit the shared perceptions of appropriateness of the actions or social norm, under the two frames. We show that the social norm governing the bribery game frame and ultimatum game frame are indeed different and that the perceived sense of social appropriateness plays a crucial role in determining the actual behavior in the two frames. Finally, we comment on the external validity of behavior in lab corruption games.
    Keywords: Corruption, Framing Effects, Social Norms, External Validity
    JEL: C91 C92 D03
    Date: 2014–08–14
  5. By: Zhou, Yexin (Stockholm China Economic Research Institute); Chen, Mo; Ye, Jingyi
    Abstract: In Chinese cities, rural migrants on average are less educated and poorer than the urban locals. Migration is costly, especially for those who choose to move to provinces faraway from their hometowns. A larger fraction of the rural migrants are self-employed than that of the urban locals. The social contacts of migrants in the host cities often help them to find jobs or to start businesses. We studied the choice of self-employment of rural migrants in Beijing, using a migrant dataset collected from 2007 to 2012. The result shows that the self-employed rural migrants in Beijing tend to be females, migrating from faraway provinces, with more social contacts, and either having the highest education or the lowest. Education and social capital are positively correlated with earning for both wage-earners and self-employed, with different magnitudes. We use a search model to explain this.
    Keywords: Self-employmen; Rural Migrants; Social Network
    JEL: J61 R23 Z13
    Date: 2014–08–20
  6. By: Leyden, Dennis (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics); Link, Albert (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper models the entrepreneurial process as both creation and discovery composed of an iterative two-step process where entrepreneurs create social networks based on subjective expectations about the future effectiveness of those networks, and then choose the innovation to pursue and map a search process to discover how to bring the innovation to fruition. Critical to this process is the mix of strong ties and weak ties that make up social networks and the ability to carry forward the social capital embodied in such networks. The tendency of long-existing entrepreneurs to be less innovative can be explained using this model.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; social networks; innovation; technology
    JEL: L26 M13 O31 O33
    Date: 2014–08–14
  7. By: Anna Dreber; Drew Fudenberg; David K Levine; David G Rand
    Date: 2014–08–07

This nep-soc issue is ©2014 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.