nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒10‒22
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Repeated Interactions vs. Social Ties: Quantifying the Economic Value of Trust, Forgiveness, and Reputation Using a Field Experiment By Ravi Bapna; Liangfei Qiu; Sarah Rice
  2. Business, Brokers and Borders: The Structure of West African Trade Networks By Olivier Walther
  3. Sudden Trust Collapse in Networked Societies By Jo\~ao da Gama Batista; Jean-Philippe Bouchaud; Damien Challet
  4. Social norms, morals and self-interest as determinants of pro-environment behaviour By Mikolaj Czajkowski; Nick Hanley; Karine Nyborg
  5. Out of sight, not out of mind. Education networks and international trade By Marina Murat
  6. Disability, life satisfaction and social interaction in Italy By Tindara Addabbo; Elena Sarti; Dario Sciulli
  7. Education ties and investments abroad. Empirical evidence from the US and UK By Marina Murat
  8. Can We Trust Online Physician Ratings? Evidence from Cardiac Surgeons in Florida By Susan Lu; Huaxia Rui
  9. Handle with Care: How Online Social Network Providers’ Privacy Policies Impact Users’ Information Sharing Behavior By Gerlach, Jin; Widjaja, Thomas; Buxmann, Peter
  10. The impact of diversity on group and individual performance By Swarnodeep Homroy; Kwok Tong Soo

  1. By: Ravi Bapna (Carlson School of Business, University of Minnesota); Liangfei Qiu (Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida); Sarah Rice (Mays School of Business, Texas A&M University)
    Abstract: The growing importance of online social networks makes it interesting to ask whether extant social capital can substitute for trust built through repeated interactions. It also provides fertile ground for researchers seeking to gain a deeper understanding of fundamental constructs of human behavior, such as trust, forgiveness, and their linkage to social ties. In both contexts, a challenge in the literature on repeated interactions and social ties is the econometric task of accounting for endogenous social ties. The reality, and possible confound, is that repeated interactions may create a context in which social ties can emerge as the outcome of a sustained social relationship. To address the challenge of endogenous social ties, we design a field experiment that uses data from the Facebook API to measure social ties that connect our subjects, and find that the level of trust and forgiveness, and the effect of forgiveness on deterring future defections, crucially depend on the presence of social ties.
    Keywords: Trust; Forgiveness; Social Ties; Repeated Games
    JEL: C93 C73 D85
    Date: 2014–09
  2. By: Olivier Walther (Department of Border Region Studies, University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: Using social network analysis, this paper studies the structure of trade networks that developed across West African borders. The first part aims to understand the centralization of cross-border trade networks. In a business environment where transaction costs are extremely high, we find that decentralized networks are well adapted to the various uncertainties induced by long-distance trade. We also study the trade-offs faced by traders between embeddedness and brokerage and find that long-distance trade relies both on the trust and cooperation shared among local traders, and on the distant ties developed with foreign partners from a different origin, religion or culture. In the second part, we study the spatial structure of trade networks and the influence of national borders on the development of social ties. The paper shows that the spatial form of trade networks is constrained by the historical origin of the traders engaged in cross-border activities. In those markets where trade is recent and where most of the traders are not native of the region, national borders are likely to exert a greater influence than in those regions where trade has pre-colonial roots.
    Keywords: Social networks, trade, border markets, brokerage, West Africa
    JEL: D85 F14 L14 P25
    Date: 2014–05
  3. By: Jo\~ao da Gama Batista; Jean-Philippe Bouchaud; Damien Challet
    Abstract: Trust is a collective, self-fulfilling phenomenon that suggests analogies with phase transitions. We introduce a stylized model for the build-up and collapse of trust in networks, which generically displays a first order transition. The basic assumption of our model is that whereas trust begets trust, panic also begets panic, in the sense that a small decrease in trust may be amplified and ultimately lead to a sudden and catastrophic drop of trust. We show, using both numerical simulations and mean-field analytic arguments, that there are extended regions of the parameter space where two equilibrium states coexist: a well-connected network where confidence is high, and a poorly connected network where confidence is low. In these coexistence regions, spontaneous jumps from the well-connected state to the poorly connected state can occur, corresponding to a sudden collapse of trust that is not caused by any major external catastrophe. In large systems, spontaneous crises are replaced by history dependence: whether the system is found in one state or in the other essentially depends on initial conditions. Finally, we document a new phase, in which agents are connected yet distrustful.
    Date: 2014–09
  4. By: Mikolaj Czajkowski (University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Poland); Nick Hanley (School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews); Karine Nyborg (University of Oslo, Department of Economics, Norway)
    Abstract: This paper considers the role which selfish, moral and social incentives and pressures play in explaining the extent to which stated choices over pro-environment behaviours vary across individuals. The empirical context is choices over household waste contracts and recycling actions in Poland. A theoretical model is used to show how cost-based motives and the desire for a positive self- and social image combine to determine the utility from alternative choices of recycling behaviour. We then describe a discrete choice experiment designed to empirically investigate the effects such drivers have on stated choices. Using a latent class model, we distinguish three types of individual who are described as duty-orientated recyclers, budget recyclers and homo oeconomicus. These groups vary in their preferences for how frequently waste is collected, and the number of categories into which household waste must be recycled. Our results have implications for the design of future policies aimed at improving participation in recycling schemes.
    JEL: D22 F18 Q41 Q52
    Date: 2014–08
  5. By: Marina Murat
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of international students on the UK bilateral trade with 167 partner economies during 1999-2009. The base hypothesis is that transnational social networks lower the invisible trade barriers existing between countries. University students typically develop ties of friendship and trust that can last for decades after graduation and may evolve into economic and business ties. I find robust evidence that education networks boost the bilateral trade between the UK and the home countries of graduates and students. At a more disaggregated level, the strongest effects on exports and imports derive from the networks linked to the Middle East and to the new member countries of the European Union;
    Keywords: International students; higher education; networks; bilateral trade;
    JEL: I23 J24 F14 F20
    Date: 2012–11
  6. By: Tindara Addabbo; Elena Sarti; Dario Sciulli
    Abstract: This paper will focus on the living conditions of disabled people with different degree of limitations as regards to daily activities. In a first step of analysis we focus on the predictors of four specific domains of life satisfaction. In a second step, we attempt to define the different well-being dimensions of disabled people by using the indicators available in the 2011 ISTAT Survey on social inclusion of people with disabilities and by comparing the well-being attainments with respect to the different levels of functional limitations. Given the relevance of social interaction in the life satisfaction of individuals, we focus on this dimension of well-being by analysing the effect of functional limitations on its development, measured by using the observable indicators on the satisfaction of interaction with friends and relatives, the extent of this interaction, and frequency and satisfaction on internet use.
    Keywords: disability, well-being, life satisfaction, social interaction.
    JEL: J71 I10 I14
    Date: 2013–10
  7. By: Marina Murat
    Abstract: Abstract. This paper analyses the impact of university student ties on the FDI of the US and UK into 167 countries during the period 1999-2010. University ties are measured by international students flows and alumni associations worldwide. Studies on transnational social networks suggest that effects should be higher on the FDI directed to the developing economies. The paper’s main findings are that international student flows and alumni associations abroad exert a positive influence on the FDI from the US and UK into the students’ home countries. More specifically, their influence is strong and significant in the group of developing countries. Results, similar for the US and UK, are robust to different regressors and econometric specifications.
    Keywords: International students, alumni, bilateral FDI, education networks.
    JEL: F14 F20 I23 J24
    Date: 2013–06
  8. By: Susan Lu (Purdue University, West Lafayette, Illinois 47907); Huaxia Rui (University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627)
    Abstract: Despite heated debate about the pros and cons of online physician ratings, very little systematic work examines the correlation between physicians’ online ratings and their actual medical performance. Using patients’ ratings of physicians at and the Florida Hospital Discharge data, we investigate whether online ratings reflect physicians’ medical performance by means of a two-stage model that takes into account patients’ ratings-based selection of cardiac surgeons. Estimation results show that five-star surgeons are associated with significantly lower mortality rates and are more likely to be selected by sicker patients compared with lower-rated surgeons. In contrast, not accounting for patients’ rating-based selection leads to the opposite outcome: patients treated by five-star surgeons had higher mortality rates than patients treated by surgeons rated below five stars. Further, we find that patients are not naïve: they know how to use different dimensions of online rating information when choosing a surgeon. Our findings suggest that we can trust online physician ratings, at least of cardiac surgeons.
    Keywords: word of mouth, physician ratings, patient selection, quality disclosure
    JEL: L15 I1
    Date: 2014–09
  9. By: Gerlach, Jin; Widjaja, Thomas; Buxmann, Peter
    Abstract: Privacy policies determine online social network providers’ options to monetize user data. However, these statements also intrude on users’ privacy and, thus, might reduce their willingness to disclose personal information, which in turn limits the data available for monetization. Given these conflicting interests, we conducted an experimental survey to investigate the relationship between privacy policies and users’ reactions. We show that users’ privacy risk perceptions mediate the effect that changes in policies’ monetization options have on users’ willingness to disclose information. Our findings emphasize privacy policies as a delicate managerial concept for companies relying on data monetization.
    Date: 2014–09–22
  10. By: Swarnodeep Homroy; Kwok Tong Soo
    Abstract: Using data on a student group project in which groups are exogenously formed, we examine the potential productivity gains from employing work-teams which are diverse in terms of gender, nationality and ability. We find no significant effect of diversity on overall team performance, except when the team members are from different socio-cultural backgrounds. More importantly, we find that students who have worked in more diverse teams experience a subsequent improvement in individual productivity. These individual productivity gains hold for both domestic and foreign students, and for students of different levels of ability. Our results suggest a mechanism by which diversity enhances individual and collective performance.
    Keywords: Group composition, diversity, performance
    Date: 2014

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.
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