nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒02‒11
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Economic Development: Is Social Capital Persistent?. By Rakesh Gupta N.R.
  2. Effect of Income on Trust: Evidence from the 2009 Crisis in Russia By Ananyev, Maxim; Guriev, Sergei
  3. Susceptibility and influence in social media word-of-mouth By Claussen, Jörg; Engelstätter, Benjamin; Ward, Michael R.
  4. Communication and Trust in Principal-Team Relationships: Experimental Evidence By Kleine, Marco; Kube, Sebastian
  5. Networks and product innovation across European SMEs By Behncke, Nadine
  6. Investigating outcomes of online engagement By Alexander van Deursen; Jan van Dijk; Ellen Helsper
  7. Social networks and farmer exposure to improved crop varieties in Tanzania By Muange, Elijah N.; Schwarze, Stefan; Qaim, Matin
  8. Spillovers of Prosocial Motivation: Evidence from an Intervention Study on Blood Donors By Bruhin, Adrian; Götte, Lorenz; Haenni, Simon; Jiang, Lingqing
  9. Determining Social Capital by Social Accounting By Peter Friedrich
  10. The weaker sex? Gender differences in punishment across Matrilineal and Patriarchal Societies By Asiedu, Edward; Ibanez, Marcela
  11. Are the elder more effective implementing punishment? Experimental evidence from urban Ghana By Asiedu, Edward; Ibanez, Marcela
  12. Peer effects in endogenous networks By Timo Hiller
  13. Strategic influence in social networks. By Michel Grabisch; Antoine Mandel; Agnieszka Rusinowska; Emily Tanimura
  14. Networks and Selection in International Migration to Spain By Nina Neubecker; Marcel Smolka; Anne Steinbacher

  1. By: Rakesh Gupta N.R. (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics and ESSEC Business School - IRENE-CODEV)
    Abstract: This paper, on the one hand, goes a step closer to demonstrate the causality of social capital on economic performance. On the other hand, we confirm a continued role of social capital effects on economic performance in this paper by using a much larger sample, spanning three decades and increasing the scope of countries. This paper is unique in the sense that it contributes to revisiting questions of economic performance, social capital and institutions with a clearly better and updated dataset from the last 28 years building upon existing empirical evidence. We employ a longitudinal analysis (pooled unbalanced multiple cross-section datasets) with fixed effects in this study. Our sample includes both the World Values Survey and European Values Study dating back to the 1980s. Our results are twofold: Firstly, to confirm that trust has a significant positive effect on growth. And more importantly, they have a significant effect on growth for at least 5 years (for growth at 5, 7 and 10 years following a period of trust measure). Secondly, associational activities – another measure in the overarching definitions of social capital, along with institutions, inequality, and education are consistently significant determinants of trust.
    Keywords: Interpersonal trust, trust, associational activities, social capital, economic development, institutions, inequality.
    JEL: Z13 O11 O43
    Date: 2015–01
  2. By: Ananyev, Maxim; Guriev, Sergei
    Abstract: This paper draws on a natural experiment to identify the relationship between income and trust. We use a unique panel dataset on Russia where GDP experienced an 8 percent drop in 2009. The effect of the crisis had been very uneven among Russian regions because of their differences in industrial structure inherited from the Soviet times. We find that the regions that specialize in producing capital goods, as well as those depending on oil and gas, had a more substantial income decline during the crisis. The variation in the industrial structure allows creating an instrument for the change in income. After instrumenting average regional income, we find that the effect of income on generalized social trust (the share of respondents saying that most people can be trusted) is statistically and economically significant. Controlling for conventional determinants of trust, we show that 10 percent decrease in income is associated with 5 percentage point decrease in trust. Given that the average level of trust in Russia is 25%, this magnitude is substantial. We also find that post-crisis economic recovery did not restore pre-crisis trust level. Trust recovered only in those regions where the 2009 decline in trust was small. In the regions with the large decline in trust during the crisis, trust in 2014 was still 10 percentage points below its pre-crisis level.
    Keywords: crisis; social capital; trust
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2015–01
  3. By: Claussen, Jörg; Engelstätter, Benjamin; Ward, Michael R.
    Abstract: Peer influence through word-of-mouth (WOM) plays an important role in many information systems but identification of causal effects is challenging. We identify causal WOM effects in the empirical setting of game adoption in a social network for gamers by exploiting differences in individuals' networks. Friends of friends do not directly influence a focal user, so we use their characteristics to instrument for behavior of the focal user's friends. We go beyond demonstrating a large and highly significant WOM effect and also assess moderating factors of the strength of the effect on the sender and receiver side. We find that users with the most influence on others tend to be better gamers, have larger social networks, but spend less time playing. Interestingly, these are also the users who are least susceptible to WOM effects.
    Keywords: Word-of-Mouth,Peer Effects,Adoption,Social Networks,Video Games
    JEL: D85 L14 M31
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Kleine, Marco (Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition); Kube, Sebastian (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: We study how upward communication – from workers to managers – about individual efforts affects the effectiveness of gift exchange as a contract-enforcement device for work teams. Our findings suggest that the use of such self-assessments can be detrimental to workers' performance. In the controlled environment of a laboratory gift-exchange experiment, our workers regularly overstate their own contribution to the joint team output. Misreporting seems to spread distrust within the team of workers, as well as between managers and workers. This manifests itself in managers being less generous with workers' payments, and in workers being more sensitive to the perceived kindness of their relative wage payments. By varying the source and degree of information about individual efforts between treatments, we see that precise knowledge about workers' actual contributions to the team output is beneficial for the success of gift-exchange relationships. Yet, workers' self-assessments can be a problematic tool to gather this information.
    Keywords: communication, gift exchange, incomplete contracts, reciprocity, performance appraisal, self-assessment, work team, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C92 J33 M52
    Date: 2015–01
  5. By: Behncke, Nadine
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of different cooperation forms on innovation in small and medium enterprises in Belgium, Germany, Portugal and Spain using Community Innovation Survey data from 2008. We find that vertical cooperation and knowledge cooperation increases the probability to introduce product innovations in all countries. The positive effect is driven by cooperation in the home country in Germany and Spain while it comes from cooperations with foreign countries in Belgium and Portugal. However, our results suggest that SME are not able to capitalize from these cooperations. We find a significant and positive effect of horizontal cooperation on sales due to product innovation only in Germany.
    Keywords: networks,SMEs,innovation
    JEL: L14 L25 L2
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Alexander van Deursen; Jan van Dijk; Ellen Helsper
    Abstract: So far, digital divide research and policy was primarily engaged with access to computers and the Internet. The results of having access to these digital media were neglected. This article focuses on the tangible outcomes of online access and activity. There have been few attempts to measure such outcomes. With respect to digital inclusion, the most interesting question is who actually benefits from being online. This article answers this question by the results of a representative survey of the Dutch population in 2013. Internet outcomes and benefits are framed in concepts of participation in several domains of society: economic, social, educational, political and institutional. The results show that the same social categories having more access to the Internet also have more outcomes or benefits from Internet use: people with high education and income and young people. Outcomes in fact are the essence or stake of the digital divide. This study shows that some categories of the Dutch population benefit substantially more than others by using the Internet in finding a job, lower prices of products and services, better opportunities of education, a political party to vote for, new friends, a partner in dating and other outcomes.
    JEL: L91 L96
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Muange, Elijah N.; Schwarze, Stefan; Qaim, Matin
    Abstract: In Sub-Sahara Africa, adoption rates of improved crop varieties remain relatively low, which is partly due to farmers’ limited access to information. In smallholder settings, information often spreads through informal networks. Better understanding of such networks could potentially help to spur innovation and farmers’ exposure to new technologies. This study uses survey data from Tanzania to analyze social networks and their role for the spread of information about improved varieties of maize and sorghum. Regression models show that network links for the exchange of agricultural information are more likely between farmers who have similar educational but different wealth levels. Moreover, network links are more likely when farmers have direct contacts to extension officers, suggesting that information flows through informal channels can support but not replace formal channels. Social networks play a significant role for the spread of information about open-pollinated varieties. This is not the case for maize hybrids, which are sold by private seed companies.
    Keywords: social networks, exposure, improved varieties, sorghum, maize, gender, Community/Rural/Urban Development, International Development, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, O12, O13, O31, Q12, Q16,
    Date: 2014–09
  8. By: Bruhin, Adrian; Götte, Lorenz; Haenni, Simon; Jiang, Lingqing
    Abstract: Spillovers of prosocial motivation are crucial for the formation of social capital. They facilitate interactions among individuals and create social multipliers that amplify the effects of policy interventions. We conducted a large-scale intervention study among dyads of blood donors to investigate whether social ties lead to motivational spillovers in the decision to donate. The intervention is a randomized phone call making donors aware of a current shortage of their blood type and serving us as an instrument for identifying motivational spillovers. About 40% of a donor's motivation spills over to the other donor, creating a significant social multiplier of 1.78.
    Keywords: bivariate probit; blood donation; prosocial motivation; social interactions
    JEL: C31 C36 D03
    Date: 2015–01
  9. By: Peter Friedrich (University of Tartu, Estonia)
    Abstract: Although social capital has been often debated in the last 20 years, there is a widely accepted definition missing and the approaches to measure its size are not very developed. Therefore, the definitions of social capital are stated and analysed, whether they are appropriately designed also for measurement purposes. We end up with a division between capital consisting of real capital as fixed and working capital and financial capital on the one hand and capitals, which are referring to human capital and social capital in a narrow sense on the other hand. The last two are named here as social capital. The stock of the first kind of capital can be expressed as net capital when the liabilities are deducted is booked to the final social balance as well as the remainder of the stock accounts. The stock of the second one can be identified as social assets reduced by social liabilities. Non-commercial values of economic activities are gathered in social accounting. With social accounting exist several approaches, however most of them are not developed to such an extent that the social capital can be determined through an adequate ex-post analysis. A welfare economic oriented approach comprising a bookkeeping system helps to determine social capital. Based on the willingness to pay approach a commercial bookkeeping system and an additional social bookkeeping were designed where the respective “private” and additional social capital were verified. Both together show the total social capital related to an economic subject. The result is illustrated by such a social accounting for the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Tartu for 2006. The author discusses the limits and possibilities of this kind of social capital determination.
    Keywords: Social capital; Social success; Social accounting; Ex-post Analysis
    JEL: D1 D6 D61 M41 O15 Z13
    Date: 2015–01
  10. By: Asiedu, Edward; Ibanez, Marcela
    Abstract: This paper investigates the hypothesis that women are underrepresented in leadership roles due to a lower ability to influence others. By comparing societies that differ in the inheritance rights of men and women, we trace the origins of such difference. The results of a public good game with third party punishment indicate that in patriarchal societies there are persistent gender differences in social influence while in matrilineal societies these differences are smaller. While in the patriarchal society sanctioning behavior is not different across genders, cooperation is lower in groups with a female monitor than a male monitor. In contrast, in the matrilineal society male monitors sanction more often than female monitors, though cooperation does not depend on the gender of the monitor.
    Keywords: Gender, norm enforcement, culture, inequality, collective action, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, International Development, Public Economics, C92, C93, D03, J14, J16,
    Date: 2014–04
  11. By: Asiedu, Edward; Ibanez, Marcela
    Abstract: To study the persistence of cultural norms that mandate respect towards the elder, we conducted an artefactual field experiment in two cities in Ghana. Using a public good game with third-party punishment, we find that punisher's age is an important determinant of cooperation. Our results indicate the elder are more efficient using punishment than youngsters.
    Keywords: Field experiment, status, age, punishment, public goods, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Public Economics, H41, C92, C93,
    Date: 2014–07
  12. By: Timo Hiller
    Abstract: This paper presents a simple model of strategic network formation with local complementarities in effort levels and positive local externalities for a general class of payoff functions. Results are obtained for one-sided and two-sided link creation. In both cases (pairwise) Nash equilibrium networks are nested split graphs, which are a strict subset of core-periphery networks. The relevance of the convexity of the value function (gross payoffs as a function of neighbours' effort levels when best responding) in obtaining nested split graphs is highlighted. Under additional assumptions on payoffs, we show that the only efficient networks are the complete and the empty network. Furthermore, there exists a range of linking cost such that any (pairwise) Nash equilibrium is inefficient and for a strict subset of this range any (pairwise) Nash equilibrium network structure is different from the efficient network. These findings are relevant for a wide range of social and economic phenomena, such as educational attainment, criminal activity, labor market participation, and R&D expenditures of firms.
    Keywords: strategic network formation; peer effects; strategic complements; positive externalities
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2013–09
  13. By: Michel Grabisch (Paris School of Economics - Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Antoine Mandel (Paris School of Economics - Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Agnieszka Rusinowska (Paris School of Economics - Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Emily Tanimura (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: We consider a model of influence with a set of non-strategic agents and two strategic agents. The non-strategic agents have initial opinions and are linked through a simply connected network. They update their opinions as in the DeGroot model. The two strategic agents have fixed opinions, 1 and 0 respectively, and are characterized by the magnitude of the impact they can exert on non-strategic agents. Each strategic agent forms a link with one non-strategic agent in order to alter the average opinion that eventually emerges in the network. This procedure defines a zero-sum game whose players are the two strategic agents and whose strategy set is the set of non-strategic agents. We focus on the existence and the characterization of equilibria in pure strategy in this setting. Simple examples show that the existence of a pure strategy equilibrium does depend on the structure of the network. The characterization of equilibrium we obtain emphasizes on the one hand the influenceability of target agents and on the other hand their centrality whose natural measure in our context defines a new concept, related to betweenness centrality, that we call intermediacy. We also show that in the case where the two strategic agents have the same impact, symmetric equilibria emerge as natural solutions whereas in the case where the impacts are uneven, the strategic players generally have differentiated equilibrium targets, the high-impacts agent focusing on centrality and the low-impact agent on influenceability.
    Keywords: Influence networks, beliefs, DeGroot model, strategic player, convergence, consensus, equilibrium.
    JEL: C71 D85
    Date: 2015–01
  14. By: Nina Neubecker (DIW, Berlin, Germany); Marcel Smolka (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark); Anne Steinbacher
    Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on migrant networks as determinants of the scale and skill structure of migration, using aggregate data from a recent migration boom to Spain. We develop a three-level nested multinomial logit migration model. Our model accommodates varying degrees of similarity of destinations located in the same region (or the same country), allowing for a rich structure of substitutability across alternative destinations. We find strong positive network effects on the scale of migration and a strong negative effect on the ratio of high-skilled to low-skilled migrants. Simplifying restrictions on substitutability across destinations are rejected by the data.
    Keywords: international migration, migrant networks, nested multinomial, logit model, skill structure of migration, Spain
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2015–01–26

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