nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒01‒14
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. When Location Does Not Matter: Membership And Networking In Online Communities Of Software Developers By Olessia Y. Koltsova; Sergei N. Koltcov
  2. Socio-Psychological Capital, Values And Emigration Intentions Of Russian Youth By Sergey V. Chuvashov
  3. Religiosity And Political Participation In Contemporary Russia: A Quantitative Analysis By Anna Y. Kulkova
  4. Household entrepreneurship and social networks:panel data evidence from Vietnam By Huu Chi Nguyen; Christophe Nordman
  5. Trust in American Government: Longitudinal Measurement Equivalence in the ANES, 1964-2008 By Dmitriy Poznyak; Bart Meuleman; Koen Abts; George F. Bishop
  6. How can political trust be built after civil wars? : lessons from post-conflict Sierra Leone By Wong P-H.
  7. Social networks and factor markets: Panel data evidence from Ethiopia: By Abay, Kibrom A.; Kahsay, Goytom A.; Berhane, Guush
  8. Essays in behavioral economics : Applied game theory and experiments By Mermer, A.G.
  9. Distinguishing Neighborhood and Workplace Effects on Individual Productivity: Evidence from Sweden By Mellander, Charlotta; Stolarick, Kevin; Lobo, José
  10. Defaults and Donations: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Steffen Altmann; Armin Falk; Paul Heidhues; Rajshri Jayaraman

  1. By: Olessia Y. Koltsova (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Sergei N. Koltcov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Following the discussion on the role of Internet in the formation of ties across space, this paper seeks to supplement recent findings on location-dependent preferential attachment online. For this purpose, instead of looking at egonetworks, we look at networks of online communities specifically aimed at development of location-independent ties. The paper focuses on professional communities of software developers. The data are obtained automatically from the VKontakte social networking site. Evidence suggests that membership, friendship, commenting and liking ties are overwhelmingly cross-city
    Keywords: Internet, SNS, professional communities, cross-distance ties, networks, SNA
    JEL: Z19
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Sergey V. Chuvashov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: This research defines the relatively new concept of socio-psychological capital and examines the interrelation between socio-psychological capital and emigration intentions of Russian youth. Socio-psychological capital is seen as a resource of psychological relations, available to individuals belonging to a group. Socio-psychological capital includes trust, national identity, ethnic tolerance. The research also deals with the theory of planned behaviour, applied to emigration intentions. The empirical database is presented by the sample of Russian students (N=203). The results of structure equation modelling show that the model of planned emigration behaviour differs from the original theoretical model. We also found a negative relationship between national identity, institutional trust and emigration intentions. The results advance the understanding of the psychological nature of emigration intentions and highlight the potential of the socio-psychological capital concept
    Keywords: emigration intentions, socio-psychological capital, value orientations, trust, national identity
    JEL: O15
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Anna Y. Kulkova (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The paper argues that religiosity is one of the potential determinants of political participation in Russia. A complex model of religiosity is applied, which treats individual religiosity as both belonging to religious tradition and religious behavior, while political participation includes voting, attending demonstrations, signing petitions and participating in electoral campaigns. The aim of this research is to identify whether there is a difference in political participation between religious and non-religious Russians, and between followers of different religious traditions and atheists. Secondly, it is important to explore which of the measurements of religiosity, religious tradition or religious behavior have the most powerful effect on Russians’ political participation. The data for the statistical analysis is from the European Social Survey (6th round), which includes representatives of major religious traditions in Russia.
    Keywords: political participation, religion and politics, religiosity, political behavior, political activism.
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Huu Chi Nguyen (University of Paris North, UMR DIAL); Christophe Nordman (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL, PSL, Université Paris Dauphine, LEDa)
    Abstract: (english) Using a unique panel of household businesses for Vietnam, this paper sheds light on the links between households’ and entrepreneurs’ social networks and business performance. We address two related questions. One first question asks if we can find evidence of a differentiated effect of employment of members of the family versus hired workers on the business performance. A second question tackles the respective effects of various dimensions of social networks on the business technical efficiency. The assumption is that, beyond the channel of labour productivity, entrepreneurs that are confronted with an unfavourable social environment may produce less efficiently and realize a lower output than what could be possible with the same amount of resources. We find evidence of a productivity differential between family and hired labour and highlight results consistent with the presence of adverse social network effects faced by households running a business, in particular ethnic minorities. We stress the importance of professional networks for successful entrepreneurship. _________________________________ (français) En utilisant un panel de microentreprises familiales au Vietnam, cet article met en relation le réseau social des entrepreneurs et de leur ménage avec la performance de la microentreprise familiale. Nous abordons deux questions connexes. La première examine la possibilité d'effets différenciés de l'emploi des membres de la famille par rapport à des travailleurs recrutés sur le marché du travail sur la performance de la microentreprise. Une deuxième question aborde les effets respectifs des différentes dimensions des réseaux sociaux sur l'efficience technique de la microentreprise. L'hypothèse testée est que, au-delà du canal de la productivité du travail, les entrepreneurs qui sont confrontés à un environnement social défavorable pourraient produire moins efficacement et réaliser une valeur ajoutée plus faible que ce qui pourrait être possible avec la même quantité de ressources. Nous montrons qu'il existe en effet un différentiel de productivité entre le travail familial et le travail recruté sur le marché, et nos résultats attestent de la présence d'effets défavorables du réseau social pour certains ménages gérant une microentreprise. Nous soulignons aussi l'importance des réseaux professionnels pour la réussite de l'entreprenariat familial.
    Keywords: Family labour, Kinship and ethnic ties, Sharing norms, Social network capital, Informality, Household business, Panel, Vietnam.
    JEL: D13 D61 O12
    Date: 2014–11
  5. By: Dmitriy Poznyak; Bart Meuleman; Koen Abts; George F. Bishop
    Abstract: For over 50 years (1958–2012) the American National Election Studies (ANES) survey has been measuring citizens’ evaluations of the trustworthiness of the “government in Washingtonâ€â€”an indicator that has been widely used to monitor the dynamics of political trust in the US over time. However, a critical assumption in using attitudinal constructs for longitudinal research is that the meaning-and-interpretation of such items should be comparable across groups of respondents at any one point in time and across samples over time.
    Keywords: Political trust, ANES, Measurement equivalence, Comparability, Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis, Structural equation modeling
    JEL: C
    Date: 2014–09–01
  6. By: Wong P-H. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: Liberal peacebuilding has received a considerable amount of criticism in the recent peacebuilding and state building literature. Critics of the liberal approach argue that electoral democracy is a foreign-imposed institution, which often does not enjoy public acceptance and legitimacy as local institutions do. Post-conflict Sierra Leone has undergone a similar struggle when the Local Government Act was introduced in 2004. Under the new law, much power enjoyed by chiefs was transferred to the elected local councillors. While traditional chiefdom governance was blamed to be one of the institutional drivers of the civil war, this customary authority is highly respected and the reform was resisted by many local people. Nevertheless, the new system produces some positive development outcomes and the country has remained largely peaceful. Against this backdrop, this paper investigates the channels through which trust in a poorly trusted government body can be developed. Based on survey data from Sierra Leone, my statistical analysis examines three mechanisms through which political trust can be built improved public services, clean administration, and responsive governance. It is found that local governments which are willing to listen and respond to their people are more likely to be trusted by the public.
    Keywords: Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption; Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government; Public Goods;
    JEL: D73 H11 H41
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Abay, Kibrom A.; Kahsay, Goytom A.; Berhane, Guush
    Abstract: We investigate the role of an indigenous social network in Ethiopia, the iddir, in facilitating factor market transactions among smallholder farmers. Using detailed longitudinal household survey data and employing a difference-in-differences approach, we find that iddir membership improves households’ access to factor markets.
    Keywords: social networks, iddir networks, factor market imperfections, factor market transactions, crowding-out,
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Mermer, A.G. (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Behavioral Economics aims at understanding the decision of economic agents who are not necessarily monetary utility maximizers and accounts for the fact that agents may have other concerns next to economic gain. This thesis contributes to the literature by studying the behavior of economic agents who are not necessarily monetary utility maximizers in situations with strategic interaction. The second chapter solves a game-theoretic model of contests assuming that agents have reference-dependent preferences. The results help to explain behavior observed in recent experiments that is hard to reconcile with the assumption of standard preferences. The optimal price mechanism is derived which differs markedly from the one derived under the assumption of standard preferences. The third and fourth chapters use laboratory experimentation which allows for careful scrutinizing of behavioral assumptions made in economic models. The third chapter experimentally investigates agents’ cooperative behavior in indefinitely-repeated dilemma games with different strategic environments. It is reported that subjects play collusive choices significantly more often when actions exhibit strategic substitutability than when actions exhibit strategic complementarity. In Chapter 4 we experimentally study information acquisition in a social dilemma game. It is reported that in a twice-repeated trust game trustors choose to be informed about the type of the trustee in a setting where, theoretically, having such information is detrimental for cooperation and material payoffs.
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Mellander, Charlotta (Jönköping International Business School, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto & Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies (CESIS)); Stolarick, Kevin (Urban Studies, University of Toronto); Lobo, José (School of Sustainability, Arizona State University)
    Abstract: We investigate the effects on individuals’ productivity (captured through their wage income) of two social networks in which individuals are embedded: their residential neighborhood and their workplace. We avail ourselves of Swedish micro-level data which makes it possible to identify individual workers, and who they live next to and work with. We vary the spatial extent of the non-workplace social networkfrom block group to the whole of a metropolitan areato examine which social community most affects an individual’s productivity. We distinguish between individuals engaged in “creative” and “non creative” occupations so as to starkly control for differences in education, training and skills. Our results suggest that residential neighborhoods do matter for individuals’ productivity, although the effect is stronger for noncreatives. For both creatives and noncreatives their workplace group has the greatest effect on income.
    Keywords: network effects; neighborhood; productivity; workplace; creative occupations
    JEL: J10 R20 R23
    Date: 2014–12–15
  10. By: Steffen Altmann; Armin Falk; Paul Heidhues; Rajshri Jayaraman
    Abstract: We study how website defaults affect consumer behavior in the domain of charitable giving. In a field experiment that was conducted on a large platform for making charitable donations over the web, we exogenously vary the default options in two distinct choice dimensions. The first pertains to the primary donation decision, namely, how much to contribute to the charitable cause. The second relates to an “add-on" decision of how much to contribute to supporting the online platformitself. We find a strong impact of defaults on individual behavior: in each of our treatments, the modal positive contributions in both choice dimensions invariably correspond to the specified default amounts. Defaults, nevertheless, have no impact on aggregate donations. This is because defaults in the donation domain induce some people to donate more and others to donate less than they otherwise would have. In contrast, higher defaults in the secondary choice dimension unambiguously induce higher contributions to the online platform.
    Keywords: Default Options, Charitable Giving, Online Platforms, Field Experiment
    JEL: C93 D03 D64
    Date: 2014

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