nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒12‒24
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Money is More than a Memory By Maria Bigoni; Gabriele Camera; Marco Casari
  2. Does ethnic diversity decrease economic interactions? Evidence from exchange networks in rural Gambia By Arcand, Jean-Louis; Jaimovich, Dany
  3. Gift-giving and Network Structure in Rural China: Utilizing Long-term Spontaneous Gift Records By Chen, Xi
  4. Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in a Social Network By Banerjee, Abhijit; Chandrasekhar, Arun G; Duflo, Esther; Jackson, Matthew O.
  5. Formal and informal volunteering and health across European countries By Fiorillo, Damiano; Nappo, Nunzia
  6. Strong versus Weak Ties in Migration By Giulietti, Corrado; Wahba, Jackline; Zenou, Yves
  7. Trust and the Welfare State: the Twin Peaks Curve By Algan, Yann; Cahuc, Pierre; Sangnier, Marc
  8. Directed Giving: Evidence from an Inter-Household Transfer Experiment By Catia Batista; Dan Silverman; Dean Yang
  9. All Deceptions Are Not Alike: Bayesian Mechanism Design with Social Norm Against Lying By Ville Korpela
  10. Learning faster or more precisely? Strategic experimentation in networks By Wuggenig, Mirjam
  11. Social Status and Personality Traits By Alessandro Bucciol; Barbara Cavasso; Luca Zarri
  12. Parenting with Style: Altruism and Paternalism in Intergenerational Preference Transmission By Doepke, Matthias; Zilibotti, Fabrizio
  13. Organizational architecture and pro-social behavior : Three essays By Yin, H.

  1. By: Maria Bigoni (University of Bologna); Gabriele Camera (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and University of Basel); Marco Casari (University of Bologna and IZA)
    Abstract: Impersonal exchange is the hallmark of an advanced society. One key institution for impersonal exchange is money, which economic theory considers just a primitive arrangement for monitoring past conduct in society. If so, then a public record of past actions—or memory—supersedes the function performed by money. This intriguing theoretical postulate remains untested. In an experiment, we show that the suggested functional equality between money and memory does not translate into an empirical equivalence. Monetary systems perform a richer set of functions than just revealing past behaviors, which proves to be crucial in promoting large-scale cooperation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, intertemporal trade, experiments, social norms, social dilemmas
    JEL: C70 C90 D03 E02
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Arcand, Jean-Louis; Jaimovich, Dany
    Abstract: Using a unique dataset collected in 59 rural Gambian villages, we study how ethnic heterogeneity is related to the structure of four economic exchange networks: land, labor, inputs and credit. We find that different measures of village-level ethnic fragmentation are mostly uncorrelated with network structure. At a more disaggregated level, household heads belonging to ethnic minorities are not less central than those from the predominant ethnicity in any of the networks and, at the dyadic level, the fact that two households share ethnicity is not an economically significant predictor of link formation. Our results indicate that, in the particular setting of our study, the structure of the exchange networks is better defined by other variables than ethnicity, and that ethnic heterogeneity is unlikely to be a driver for sub-optimal economic exchanges. We argue that our findings can be interpreted in a causal way as the current distribution of ethnic groups in rural Gambia is largely influenced by specific historical features of the British colonial administration. Moreover, the network structure of our data allow us to include fixed effects at different levels as well as to precisely measure kinship ties, a confounding variable often omitted in previous studies.
    Keywords: Keywords: West Africa, Social Networks, Ethnic Fragmentation. JEL codes: C31, D04, 012, Z13.
    JEL: C31 O1 O12 Z13
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Chen, Xi (Yale University)
    Abstract: The tradition of keeping written records of gift received during household ceremonies in many countries offers researchers an underutilized means of data collection for social network analysis. This paper first summarizes unique features of the gift record data that circumvent five prevailing sampling and measurement issues in the literature, and we discuss their advantages over existing studies at both the individual level and the dyadic link level using previous data sources. We then document our research project in rural China that implements a multiple wave census-type household survey and a long-term gift record collection. The pattern of gift-giving in major household social events and its recent escalation is analyzed. There are significantly positive correlations between gift network centrality and various forms of informal insurance. Finally, economic inequality and competitive marriage market are among the main demographic and socioeconomic determinants of the observed gift network structure.
    Keywords: gift-giving, long-term gift record, social networks, centrality, China
    JEL: C8 D1 R2 Z1
    Date: 2014–11
  4. By: Banerjee, Abhijit; Chandrasekhar, Arun G; Duflo, Esther; Jackson, Matthew O.
    Abstract: Can we identify the members of a community who are best- placed to diffuse information simply by asking a random sample of in- dividuals? We show that boundedly-rational individuals can, simply by tracking sources of gossip, identify those who are most central in a network according to "diffusion centrality", which nests other standard centrality measures. Testing this prediction with data from 35 Indian villages, we find that respondents accurately nominate those who are diffusion central (not just those with many friends). Moreover, these nominees are more central in the network than traditional village leaders and geographically central individuals.
    Keywords: centrality; diffusion; gossip; influence; networks; social learning
    JEL: D13 D85 L14 O12 Z13
    Date: 2014–08
  5. By: Fiorillo, Damiano; Nappo, Nunzia
    Abstract: In this paper we compare the correlation among formal and informal volunteering and self-perceived health across 14 European countries after controlling for socio-economic characteristics, housing features, neighborhood quality, size of municipality, social participation and regional dummies. We find that formal volunteering has a significantly positive association with self-perceived health in Finland and the Netherlands, but none in the other countries. By contrast, informal volunteering has a significantly positive correlation with self-perceived health in the Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece, and a significantly negative relationship in Italy. Our conclusion is that formal and informal volunteering measure two different aspects of volunteering whose correlations with perceived health seem to depend on specific cultural and institutional characteristics of each country.
    Keywords: Self-perceived health, formal and informal volunteering, European countries
    JEL: D64 I10 P5 Z10
    Date: 2014–01–31
  6. By: Giulietti, Corrado; Wahba, Jackline; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of strong versus weak ties in the rural-to-urban migration decision in China. We first develop a network model that puts forward the different roles of weak and strong ties in helping workers to migrate to the city. We then use a unique longitudinal data that allows us to test our model by focusing on first-time migration. Strong ties are measured by the closest family contact (excluding household members) while weak ties are determined by the fraction of migrants from the village in which the individual resides. We address the endogeneity of the network formation in the migration decision. Our results indicate that both weak and strong ties matter in the migration decision process, although the impact of weak ties is higher than that of strong ties. We also show that one underestimates the effect of social networks on migration by not taking into account the strong ties in the mobility process. We finally find that weak and strong ties act as complements in the migration decision, which indicates that the interactive effect between weak and strong ties is particularly strong above a certain threshold of the size of weak ties.
    Keywords: China; internal migration; social networks
    JEL: J61 O15
    Date: 2014–11
  7. By: Algan, Yann; Cahuc, Pierre; Sangnier, Marc
    Abstract: We show the existence of a twin peaks relation between trust and the size of the welfare state that stems from two opposing forces. Uncivic people support large welfare states because they expect to benefit from them without bearing their costs. But civic individuals support generous benefits and high taxes only when they are surrounded by trustworthy individuals. We provide empirical evidence for these behaviors and this twin peaks relation in the OECD countries.
    Keywords: trust; welfare states
    JEL: H1
    Date: 2014–07
  8. By: Catia Batista; Dan Silverman; Dean Yang
    Abstract: We investigate the determinants of giving in a lab-in-the-field experiment with large stakes. Study participants in urban Mozambique play dictator games where their counterpart is the closest person to them outside their household. Dictators share more with counterparts when they have the option of giving in kind (in the form of goods), compared to giving that must be in cash. Qualitative post-experiment responses suggest that this effect is driven by a desire to control how recipients use gifted resources. Standard economic determinants such as the rate of return to giving and the size of the endowment also affect giving, but the effects of even large changes in these determinants are significantly smaller than the effect of the in-kind option. Our results support theories of giving where the utility of givers depends on the composition (not just the level) of gift-recipient expenditures, and givers thus seek control over transferred resources. JEL codes: C92, C93, D01, D03, D64, O17
    Keywords: sharing, altruism, giving, dictator game, inter-household transfers, Mozambique
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Ville Korpela (Department of Economics, University of Turku)
    Abstract: We say that a society has a weak norm against lying if, all other things being equal, agents rather lie in such a way that they do not get caught. We show that if this is the case, and it usually is, then Bayesian monotonicity is no longer a constraint in implementation and all incentive compatible social choice functions are Bayesian implementable. In contrast to the previous literature our result derives from a refinement of the standard Bayes-Nash equilibrium that does not rely on any kind of intrinsic lying aversion on which the experimental evidence is mixed. In addition, it suggests that the so called "multiple equilibrium problem" may not be that severe.
    Keywords: Deception, Implementation, Incentive compatibility, Revelation principle, Social norms and conventions
    JEL: B41 C72 D78 D82
    Date: 2014–11
  10. By: Wuggenig, Mirjam
    Abstract: The paper analyzes a dynamic model of rational strategic learning in a network. It complements existing literature by providing a detailed picture of short-run dynamics in a game of strategic experimentation where agents are located in a social network. We show that the delay in information transmission caused by incomplete network structures may induce players to increase own experimentation efforts. As a consequence a complete network can fail to be optimal even if there are no costs for links. This means that in the design of networks there exists a trade-off between the speed of learning and accuracy.
    Keywords: Strategic Experimentation; Networks; Learning
    JEL: C73 D83 D85
    Date: 2014–12–04
  11. By: Alessandro Bucciol (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Barbara Cavasso (University of Padua); Luca Zarri (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: In this study we provide direct evidence on the relationship between social status and personality traits. Using survey data from the 2006-2012 waves of the HRS, we show that individuals’ self-perceived social status is associated with all the “Big Five” personality traits, after controlling for observable characteristics that arguably reflect one’s actual status. We also construct an objective status measure that in turn is influenced by personality traits. Objectively measured status is positively but not highly correlated with its subjective counterpart and, when incorporated in a regression specification, still leaves room for direct effects of personality traits on status perception.
    Keywords: Subjective Social Status, Objectively Measured Social Status, Personality Traits
    JEL: D03 I31 Z13
    Date: 2014–12
  12. By: Doepke, Matthias; Zilibotti, Fabrizio
    Abstract: We develop a theory of intergenerational transmission of preferences that rationalizes the choice between alternative parenting styles (as set out in Baumrind 1967). Parents maximize an objective function that combines Beckerian altruism and paternalism towards children. They can affect their children's choices via two channels: either by influencing children's preferences or by imposing direct restrictions on their choice sets. Different parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive) emerge as equilibrium outcomes, and are affected both by parental preferences and by the socioeconomic environment. Parenting style, in turn, feeds back into the children's welfare and economic success. The theory is consistent with the decline of authoritarian parenting observed in industrialized countries, and with the greater prevalence of more permissive parenting in countries characterized by low inequality.
    Keywords: Intergenerational Preference Transmission; Occupational Choice; Parenting Style; Paternalism
    JEL: D10 J10 O10 O40
    Date: 2014–06
  13. By: Yin, H. (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Social motivations and double-sided information asymmetry are present in many accounting contexts. This thesis recognizes that managers can have social motivations and there can be double-sided information asymmetry between managers and employees, and will illustrate that accounting choices and decisions by principals, and accounting solutions by organizations, may look different and may have to be revised when considering social motivations and double-sided information asymmetry. Chapter 2 examines the effect of delegating decision rights about cost reduction in capital budgeting and the type of compensation contracts on the managers’ misrepresentation of private information. Results show that the delegation of decision rights produces an important responsibility effect that makes managers care about the superiors’ interest. The responsibility effect materializes when managers receive a fixed wage contract without truth telling incentives, but fails to materialize when managers receive a contract with the incentives. The findings suggest that firms may be better off by combining delegation with a fixed wage contract in settings where social motivations are important. Chapter 3 examines how a principal’s choice of a truth-telling incentive contract affects the honesty of their agents’ cost reporting in a setting where principals may have information about social norms unknown to agents. Results show that the principal’s choice of incentives produces besides an incentive effect a negative information leakage effect. This choice leaks information of a selfish social norm. Agents conform to this social norm by misrepresenting cost information more. The results suggest that managers must recognize that their decisions can leak information, which may produce unanticipated consequences for the social norms at play in the organization. Chapter 4 studies the effect of an open policy (revealing the manager behavior openly to employees) and granting managers discretion over rewarding employees on managers’ propensity to behave well towards the organization. Results show that managers are more likely to behave well towards the organization under the open policy compared to the closed policy (employees cannot observe the manager behavior). The effect of the open policy on controlling managers is larger when managers have discretion over rewarding employees than when they do not have the discretion.
    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.
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.