nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒09‒25
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. What is trustworthiness and what drives it? By James C. Cox; Rudolf Kerschbamer; Daniel Neururer
  2. Managers’ External Social Ties at Work: Blessing or Curse for the Firm? By Leif Brandes; Marc Brechot; Egon Franck
  3. Strategic signaling or emotional sanctioning? An experimental study of ex post communication in a repeated public goods game By Adam Zylbersztejn
  4. Food Comes First, Then Morals: Redistribution Preferences, Altruism and Group Heterogeneity in Western Europe By David Rueda
  5. European civil societies compared: Typically German? Typically French? By Edith Archambault; Eckhardt Priller; Annette Zimmer
  6. Stable Networks in Homogeneous Societies By Tim Hellmann; Jakob Landwehr
  7. Cooperation and Institution in Games By Okada, Akira
  8. Peer Enforcement in Teams: Evidence from High-Skill Professional Workers with Repeated Interactions By Brad R. Humphreys; Jie Yang

  1. By: James C. Cox; Rudolf Kerschbamer; Daniel Neururer
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of experiments designed to isolate the impact of various combinations of the following motives on trustworthiness: (i) unconditional other-regarding preferences - like altruism, inequality aversion, quasi-maximin, etc.; (ii) deal-responsiveness - reacting to actions that allow for a mutual improvement by adopting behavior that implies a mutual improvement; (iii) gift-responsiveness - reacting to choices that allow the trustee to obtain an improvement by adopting actions that benefit the trustor; and (iv) vulnerability-responsiveness - reacting to the vulnerability of the trustor by adopting actions that do not hurt the trustor. Our results indicate that - besides unconditional other-regarding preferences - vulnerability-responsiveness is an important determinant of trustworthiness even in cases where the vulnerability of the trustor does not come together with a gift to the trustee. Motivated by our empirical findings we provide formal definitions of trust and trustworthiness based on revealed willingness to accept vulnerability and the response to it.
    Keywords: trustworthiness, trust, trust game, investment game, deal-responsiveness, gift-responsiveness, vulnerability-responsiveness, generosity, reciprocity
    JEL: C70 C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2014–09
  2. By: Leif Brandes (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick); Marc Brechot (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich); Egon Franck (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Existing evidence shows that decision-makers’ social ties to internal co-workers can lead to reduced firm performance. In this paper, we show that decision-makers’ social ties to external transaction partners can also hurt firm performance. Specifically, we use 34 years of data from the National Basketball Association and study the relationship between a team's winning percentage and its use of players that the manager acquired through social ties to former employers in the industry. We find that teams with “tie-hired-players” underperform teams without tie-hired-players by 5 percent. This effect is large enough to change the composition of teams that qualify for the playoffs. Importantly, we show that adverse selection of managers and teams into the use of tie-hiring procedures cannot fully explain this finding. Additional evidence suggests instead that managers deliberately trade-off private,tie-related benefits against team performance.
    Keywords: social relationships; social capital; principal-agent relationship; worker allocation; basketball
    JEL: D82 M51 Z13
    Date: 2014–05
  3. By: Adam Zylbersztejn (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: Several experimental studies show that ex post communication promotes generosity in situations where individual incentives contradict with common interest, like the provision of public goods. The root underlying the effect of this institution, especially in a repeated interaction, is nonetheless still obscure. This study provides a novel empirical testbed for two mechanisms by which ex post communication may affect behavior in repeated interactions : one is related to strategic signaling, the other involves emotions induces by others' opinions. The main findings are as follows. First, the presence of ex post communication (conducted through the attribution of costless disapproval points) fosters pro-social behavior and reduces free-riding. Second, I find systematic evidence that subjects tend to use ex post communication as a signaling device, whilst no evidence in favor of the emotion-based hypothesis. A possible interpretation of this phenomenon is that ex post messages are used to announce future sanctions for free-riding.
    Keywords: Public goods game; voluntary contribution mechanism; ex post communication
    Date: 2013–02
  4. By: David Rueda (Department of Politics & IR and Nuffield College, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Altruism is an important omitted variable in much of the Political Economy literature. While material self-interest is the base of most approaches to redistribution (first affecting preferences and then politics and policy), there is a paucity of research on inequality aversion. I propose that other-regarding concerns influence redistribution preferences and that (1) they matter most to those in less material need and (2) they are conditional on the identity of the poor. Altruism is a luxury good most relevant to the rich, and it is most influential when the recipients of benefits are similar to those financing them. Using data from the European Social Survey from 2002 to 2010, I will show that group homogeneity magnifies (or limits) the importance of altruism for the rich. In making these distinctions between the poor and the rich, the arguments in this paper challenge some influential approaches to the politics of inequality.
    Keywords: social policy; welfare state
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Edith Archambault (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne); Eckhardt Priller (WZB - Wissenschaftszentrum fur Sozialforschung - Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB), Institut fur Politikwissenschaft - Ludwig Maximilians Universität München); Annette Zimmer (WZB - Wissenschaftszentrum fur Sozialforschung - Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB), Institut fur Politikwissenschaft - Ludwig Maximilians Universität München)
    Abstract: France and Germany rely on different historic, religious, administrative and political traditions. In spite of these fundamental differences which should structure the non profit sector of every country, according to the theory of social origins (Salamon1998), the German and French thirdsectors converged during the last decade. They are closer by their economic weight, their composition, the growth of their volunteers and their relations with public authorities more competitive. Two differences remain however: a higher rate of membership and a more important weight of the foundations in Germany
    Keywords: Civil society ; associations ; foundations ; volunteering ; membership ; social origin theory ; France ; Germany
    Date: 2013–01–25
  6. By: Tim Hellmann (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University); Jakob Landwehr (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Abstract: We study the structure of pairwise stable networks from a very general point. Rather than assuming a particular functional form of utility, we simply assume that the society is homogeneous, i.e. that agents’ utilities differ only with respect to their network position while their names do not matter. Existence of certain stable network structures is then implied by fairly general assumptions on externalities between links. Depending on the form of link externalities, either the empty or complete network are always pairwise stable, stable symmetric networks exist, or stable networks with a connected subgroup exist. If the society becomes more homogeneous, then it is possible to characterize the set of all pairwise stable networks: they are nested split graphs (NSG). We illustrate these results with many examples from the literature, including utility profiles that depend on centrality measures such as Bonacich centrality. In particular, for low discount factors every pairwise stable network is an NSG if utility is given by Bonacich centrality.
    Keywords: Network Formation, Pairwise Stability, Existence, Homogeneity, Convexity, Strategic Complements, Bonacich Centrality
    JEL: A14 C72 D85
    Date: 2014–08
  7. By: Okada, Akira
    Abstract: Based on recent developments in non-cooperative coalitional bargaining theory, I review game theoretical analyses of cooperation and institution. The first part presents basic results of the random-proposer model and applies them to the problem of involuntary unemployment in a labor market. Extensions to cooperative games with externality and incomplete information are discussed. The second part considers enforceability of an agreement as an institutional foundation of cooperation. I re-examine the contractarian approach to the problem of cooperation under the view that individuals may voluntarily create an enforcement institution.
    JEL: C71 C72 C78 D02
    Date: 2014–09
  8. By: Brad R. Humphreys (West Virginia University, College of Business and Economics); Jie Yang (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Organizing employees into teams increases productivity but also generates incentives to shirk. Recent research suggests that peer enforcement plays an important role in deterring shirking in teams. We analyze 10 years of performance and compensation data for NFL offensive linemen, a high-skill, high-salary and repeatedly interacting team, using the Hausman-Taylor estimator to control for unobservable individual-specific heterogeneity. We find evidence that teammates’ effort signals reduce the salaries of individual offensive linemen, providing an optimal, low powered sanctioning mechanism for individual workers in this setting, and that a separate, independently monitored individual effort signal also reduces salaries.
    Keywords: peer enforcement, teams, shirking, incentives
    JEL: J24 J3 J44 L83
    Date: 2014–08

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