nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒01‒31
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Regional Economic Development, Social Capital and Governance: A Buchanian Approach By Karlsson, Charlie ; Rouchy, Philippe
  2. Social Capital and Disaster Recovery: Evidence from Sichuan Earthquake in 2008 By Tse, Chun Wing ; Wei, Jianwen ; Wang, Yihan
  3. The Economic Value of Local Social Networks By Frank Ethridge ; Maryann Feldman ; Tom Kemeny ; Ted Zoller
  4. Social interactions in inappropriate behavior for childbirth services: Theory and evidence from the Italian hospital sector By Guccio, C.; ; Lisi, D.;
  5. Religious fragmentation, social identity and cooperation: Evidence from a artefactual field experiment in India By Surajeet Chakravarty ; Miguel A. Fonseca ; Sudeep Ghosh ; Sugata Marjit
  6. Family Ties and Underground Economy By Mauro Marè ; Antonello Motroni ; Francesco Porcelli
  7. Cooperative social capital - towards a lifecycle perspective By Deng, Wendong ; Hendrikse, George
  8. Social capital and incentives in the provision of product quality by cooperatives By Deng, Wendong ; Hendrikse, George
  9. More than outcomes: The role of self-image in other-regarding behavior By Astrid Matthey ; Tobias Regner
  10. Do Social Norms Matter to Energy Saving Behavior? Endogenous Social and Correlated Effects By Toshi H. Arimura ; Hajime Katayama ; Mari Sakudo
  11. Social networks and farmer exposure to improved cereal varieties in central Tanzania By Muange, Elijah Nzula ; Schwarze, Stefan ; Qaim, Matin
  12. The role of trust in fruit and vegetable producer organisations – case study from Hungary By Szabó, Gábor G. ; Baranyai, Zsolt ; Vásáry, Miklós

  1. By: Karlsson, Charlie (Jönköping International Business School (JIBS), Blekinge Institute of Technology & Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies (CESIS) ); Rouchy, Philippe (Blekinge Institute of Technology )
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to consider some of the challenges lying ahead of policy makers in the context of regional development. Regional economic development encompasses the economics and other resources that a region can mobilize for its own sustainable development and competitiveness. It is only recently that regions have developed tools and means for analysing the performance of their firms and organizations. Public and private governance bodies have recognized that ever-changing economic conditions bring renewed externalities, which are difficult to capture. Gaps in regional performances have been attributed to important, but often intangible factors such as social capital. Regional economics has taken on board those concerns by considering networks, trust and local procedures in their studies. Nevertheless, the issue remains that regional governance seems intractable in market terms alone. In this paper, we tackle the issue of governance in the context of regional development thanks to Buchanan’s approach of choices and costs. To provide such an assessment, we contribute by merging economics and sociology, where we shift the cost focus from the classic economic concern for equilibrium towards a concern for social utility.
    Keywords: Regional Development; Social Capital; Governance; Networks; Public Choice; Property Rights; Cooperation; Trust
    JEL: A14 B25 D70 P48 R11 R58
    Date: 2015–01–09
  2. By: Tse, Chun Wing ; Wei, Jianwen ; Wang, Yihan
    Abstract: Social capital helps reduce adverse shocks by facilitating access to transfers. This study examines how various measures of social capital are associated with disaster recovery from 2008 Sichuan earthquake. We find that households having a larger Spring Festival network in 2008 do better in housing reconstruction. A larger network significantly increases the amount of government aid received for housing reconstruction. With regards to how Spring Festival network channels more government aid to the household, the results show that a larger network increases the number of people showing up to offer monetary and material support, which is linked to more government aid received. This suggests that Spring Festival network members assist the quake-affected households to apply for and obtain government aid. As for other measures of social capital, connections with government officials and communist party membership do not significantly contribute to disaster recovery. Human capital, measured by the years of schooling of household head, is also not positively correlated with housing reconstruction.
    Keywords: Natural Disasters, Social Capital, Sichuan, Risk and Uncertainty, Q54, H84,
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Frank Ethridge ; Maryann Feldman ; Tom Kemeny ; Ted Zoller
    Abstract: The idea that local social capital yields economic benefits is fundamental to theories of agglomeration, and central to claims about the virtues of cities. However, this claim has not been evaluated using methods that permit more confident statements about causality. This paper examines what happens to firms that become affiliated with a highly-connected local individual or "dealmaker." We adopt a quasi-experimental approach, combining difference-in-differences and propensity score matching to address selection and identification challenges. The results indicate that firms who link to highly-connected local dealmakers are rewarded with substantial gains in employment and sales when compared to a control group.
    Keywords: Cities, economic development, social networks, social capital
    JEL: R11 O12 O18 L14
    Date: 2015–01
  4. By: Guccio, C.; ; Lisi, D.;
    Abstract: Over the last decades the role of social interactions has become increasingly important in the economic discussion and, by now, it is acknowledged that the interaction across agents can produce both positive and negative effects. In this paper we evaluate the role of social interactions in the hospital sector using the large incidence of caesarean section, usually considered an inappropriate outcome in the childbirth service. In doing so, we lay out a theoretical model of hospitals’ behavior where the effect of peers’ behavior emerges by the simple sharing of the same institutional authority. Then, using the risk adjusted cesarean section rate of a large panel of Italian hospitals, we empirically investigate whether the behavior of each hospital is affected by the behavior of hospitals within the same region, after controlling for demand, supply and financial factors. In particular, we perform our empirical test employing both peer effects estimate and the spatial econometric approach, exploiting the panel dimension of our data. Both estimates show a significant and strong presence of peer effects among hospitals, robust to sensitivity analyses. We interpret this evidence as a large presence of constraint interactions in the healthcare sector, with important implications for the healthcare policy.
    Keywords: social interactions; peer effects; caesarian section; spatial econometrics;
    JEL: I11 C31
    Date: 2014–12
  5. By: Surajeet Chakravarty (Department of Economics, University of Exeter ); Miguel A. Fonseca (Department of Economics, University of Exeter ); Sudeep Ghosh (Hong Kong Polytechnic University ); Sugata Marjit (Center for Studies in the Social Sciences, Calcutta. )
    Abstract: We study the role of village-level religious fragmentation on intra- and inter-group cooperation in India. We report on data on two-player Prisoners’ Dilemma and Stag Hunt experiments played by 516 Hindu and Muslim participants in rural India. Our treatments are the identity of the two players and the degree of village-level religious heterogeneity. In religiously-heterogeneous villages, cooperation rates in the Prisoners’ Dilemma are higher when subjects play with another in-group member for both Hindus and Muslims, but to a much lesser extent in the Stag Hunt game. This suggests that positive in-group biases operate primarily on the willingness to achieve socially efficient outcomes, rather than through beliefs about the actions by one's counterpart. Interestingly, cooperation rates among people of the same religion are significantly lower in homogeneous villages than in fragmented villages in both games. This is likely because a sense of group identity is only meaningful in the presence of an out-group. This, together with little evidence for out-group prejudice in either game, means religious diversity is beneficial.
    Keywords: Social Identity, Social Fragmentation, Artefactual Field Experiment.
    JEL: C93 D03 H41
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Mauro Marè (Tuscia University, Italy ); Antonello Motroni (Mefop, Rome, Italy ); Francesco Porcelli (University of Exeter, UK )
    Abstract: This paper reports empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that family ties should be listed among the causes of tax evasion. In societies where the power of the family is very high, the quality of public institutions tends to be low. This connection shapes the behavior of taxpayers and generates underground economy. The econometric analysis is based on linear panel data models, and a new dataset that combines data on personal values, social capital, and tax morale, in combination with an index of the shadow economy. The final results show that countries where family ties are stronger also exhibit higher underground economy.
    Keywords: family ties, tax evasion, corruption, panel data
    JEL: H26 D73 J12
  7. By: Deng, Wendong ; Hendrikse, George
    Abstract: This study provides a literature review of social capital in cooperatives. We integrate the social capital concept with cooperative lifecycle theory and describe the change of cooperative social capital along the lifecycle. We propose that cooperatives in different stages of the lifecycle are featured with different social capital levels. Cooperatives are supposed to enjoy a large stock of social capital in the early stages of the lifecycle. However, the level of social capital in cooperatives exhibits a trend of declining along the development of the organization. The decrease of social capital will lead to an imbalance of the social and economic attribute of cooperatives. The cooperative’s income rights structure must change accordingly. We argue that it is important for cooperatives to strategically maintain and develop the social capital over time. Otherwise, the comparative advantage of the cooperative form may disappear.
    Keywords: Social Capital, Cooperatives, Lifecycle, Institutional and Behavioral Economics,
    Date: 2014–08
  8. By: Deng, Wendong ; Hendrikse, George
    Abstract: This article highlights the interaction between social capital, pooling and quality premiums and their influence on cooperative members’ decisions regarding their product quality. A necessary condition for cooperative equitable principles such as complete pooling is that there exists a high level of social capital in the cooperative. When the level of social capital is high, the social motivation in the cooperative can guarantee high product quality while economic incentives are weak. When the level of social capital declines, an income rights structure with stronger quality incentives must be adopted by the cooperative to maintain the product quality. The cooperative is uniquely efficient when the farmers are risk averse and product quality is uncertain. When the level of social capital in cooperatives is higher than a threshold, which is decreasing in members’ subjective risk toward production uncertainty, cooperatives are able to achieve higher product quality than investor owned firms (IOFs).
    Keywords: Quality, Social Capital, Cooperatives, Income Rights Structure, Industrial Organization,
    Date: 2014–08
  9. By: Astrid Matthey (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena ); Tobias Regner (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena )
    Abstract: We conduct a modified dictator game in order to analyze the role self-image concerns play in other-regarding behavior. While we generally follow Konow (2000), a cognitive dissonance-based model of other-regarding behavior in dictator games, we relax one of its assumptions as we allow for individual heterogeneity among individuals' standards of behavior. Subjects' self-image, their belief regarding the average socially appropriate behavior of others and our proxies for the cognitive dissonance costs are positively correlated with the dictator game choices. We also find that subjects whose choices involve two psychologically inconsistent cognitions indeed report higher levels of experienced conflict and take more time for their decisions (our proxies for cognitive dissonance).
    Keywords: social preferences, other-regarding behavior, self-image, cognitive dissonance, social norms
    JEL: C72 C91 D03 D80
    Date: 2014–12–21
  10. By: Toshi H. Arimura ; Hajime Katayama ; Mari Sakudo
    Abstract: Social norms have received growing attention as a potential driver for pro-environmental behavior, partly due to ample evidence based on survey data. Using data from a Japanese household survey on energy saving behavior, we estimate a structural model of social interactions that account for methodological issues inherent in survey data, namely: simultaneity, common shocks and nonrandom group selection. We find that the influence of social norms on energy saving behavior is small or insignificant, while estimates from standard methods in the literature are found to be large and highly significant. Our results suggest that evidence in previous survey-based studies may reflect correlation in unobserved characteristics between members in a group, not the influence of social norms. Length: 34 pages
  11. By: Muange, Elijah Nzula ; Schwarze, Stefan ; Qaim, Matin
    Abstract: This study uses probit and Poisson models to analyse the determinants of social network links for the exchange of information among 345 cereal farmers and the effects of social networks on farmer exposure to improved varieties in Central Tanzania. Results show that network links are determined by education, wealth, association membership, geographical proximity, kinship ties, community leadership role, and links to extension officers. Further, farmer networks positively affect the intensity of exposure to seed technologies with mostly missing or malfunctioning markets. Moreover, it is information networks outside a farmer’s village, rather those inside the village, that determine intensity of exposure.
    Keywords: social networks, exposure, improved varieties, sorghum, maize, Institutional and Behavioral Economics,
    Date: 2014–08
  12. By: Szabó, Gábor G. ; Baranyai, Zsolt ; Vásáry, Miklós
    Abstract: Taking into account the underdeveloped situation of Hungarian fruit and vegetable producer organisations (POs) as a starting point, present paper examines the role and impact of two (affective and cognitive) dimensions of trust in two POs based on empirical data collection supplied by members of two the organisations. Evaluation of databases was done by the help of descriptive statistics and we used variance analysis (ANOVA) as well as multivariate regression models. According to our findings we can state that trust has key role in POs and it has - statistically proved - influence on group cohesion, satisfaction and activity of members.
    Keywords: co-operative, producer organisations, trust, membership satisfaction, group cohesion, Institutional and Behavioral Economics,
    Date: 2014–08

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