nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒12‒08
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The economic value of local social networks By Frank Ethridge; Maryann Feldman; Tom Kemeny; Ted Zoller
  2. Left Behind but Doing Good? Civic Engagement in Two Post-Socialist Countries By Nikolova, Milena; Roman, Monica; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  3. Privacy, Trust and Social Network Formation By Alexia Gaudeul; Caterina Giannetti
  4. The Roots of Regional Trust By Christoph Hauser; Gottfried Tappeiner; Janette Walde
  5. Effects of Employee Social Capital on Wage Satisfaction, Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment By Christoph Hauser
  6. BMI is not related to altruism, fairness, trust or reciprocity: Experimental evidence from the field and the lab By Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Lenkei, Balint
  7. Social Distortion in Weight Perception: A Decomposition of the Obesity Epidemic By Barbieri, Paolo Nicola
  8. Young adults living with their parents and the influence of peers By Effrosyni Adamopoulou; Ezgi Kaya
  9. The network-based economy in Vietnam By Quang Truong
  10. The Tragedy of Corruption. Corruption as a social dilemma By Ye-Feng Chen; Shu-Guang Jiang; Marie Claire Villeval

  1. 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: L14 O12 O18 R11
    Date: 2015–01
  2. By: Nikolova, Milena (IZA); Roman, Monica (Bucharest University of Economic Studies); Zimmermann, Klaus F. (IZA and University of Bonn)
    Abstract: The fall of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe restored ordinary citizens' rights and freedoms and ended their political and social isolation. While the freedom of movement was quickly embraced, civil society revival lagged due to the eroded civic norms, declining social capital, and worsening economic conditions. In this paper, we examine the link between the out-migration of relatives and friends and the pro-social behavior of the left behinds in two post-socialist countries – Bulgaria and Romania – the EU's poorest, unhappiest, and among the most corrupt members. We show that having close contacts abroad is consistently positively associated with civic engagement and that the cultural transmission of norms from abroad could be driving the results. Specifically, the strength of the civic engagement culture of the family or friend's destination matters for the pro-social behavior of respondents in the home countries. Our results imply that the emigration of family and friends may have positive but previously undocumented consequences for the individuals and communities left behind in Bulgaria and Romania. Given civil society's role for development in post-socialist Europe and the socio-economic and institutional challenges that Bulgaria and Romania face compared with the rest of the EU, understanding the channels fostering civil society and well-being are important for national and EU policymakers.
    Keywords: international migration, left behind, civic engagement, social remittances, post-socialism
    JEL: I30 I31 F22 P30 Z10
    Date: 2015–11
  3. By: Alexia Gaudeul (Department of Economics, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen); Caterina Giannetti (Jena Graduate School Human Behaviour in Social and Economic Change)
    Abstract: We study in the laboratory the impact of private information revelation on the selection of partners when forming individual networks. Our experiment combines a "network game" and a "public-good game". In the network game, individuals decide with whom to form a link with, while in the public-good game they decide whether or not to contribute. The variations in our treatments allow us to identify the effect of revealing one's name on the probability of link formation. Our main result suggests that privacy mechanisms affect partner selection and the consequent structure of the network: when individuals reveal their real name, their individual networks are smaller but their profits are higher. This indicates that the privacy costs of revealing personal information are compensated by more productive links.
    Keywords: privacy, social networks, public goods, trust
    JEL: D12 D85
    Date: 2015–12–01
  4. By: Christoph Hauser; Gottfried Tappeiner; Janette Walde
    Abstract: Social trust is increasingly seen as an important determinant of economic growth and social prosperity in regions and nations. Even in a comparatively homogeneous area such as Europe, there are stark sub-national differences in levels of generalized trust. It is thus of crucial importance to identify the driving forces of regional trust and analyze the dynamics of its formation. The present paper considers these issues based on three waves of the European Values Study. Evidence is provided to demonstrate that values of regional trust remain substantially stable over an approx. 20-year period and are modified only through spatially correlated random noise processes. This finding is consistent with additional analyses identifying slow-moving factors that are responsible for the spatial distribution of trust scores and are buried deep in the cultural background of a society. Hence, in spite of its economic significance, social trust does not appear to be amenable to political intervention in the short to medium term.
    Keywords: social capital, European regions, spatial econometrics
    JEL: C21 R10 Z13
    Date: 2015–11
  5. By: Christoph Hauser
    Abstract: The article proposes that basic social attitudes and associational networks of employees influence their interaction with coworkers and managers at the workplace and thereby also shape work attitudes and behavior. Two terms are introduced to analyze this hypothesis: Civic Social Capital (denoting personal trust and associational activity) and Workplace Social Capital (social interaction with colleagues and trust towards management). Based on a survey of 1007 employees I demonstrate the impact of social trust and two forms of institutional trust (confidence towards national and regional institutions) on a composite index of workplace social capital. In addition, social and institutional trust also influence work related attitudes such as perception of a fair wage, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Once workplace social capital is controlled for in regressions on work related attitudes, social trust becomes insignificant. Thus, workplace social capital serves as a transmission mechanism converting social trust in enhanced rates of both wage/job satisfaction and in particular organizational commitment. In contrast, confidence towards regional institutions exerts a sustained impact on work related attitudes that persists alongside the impact of social interaction with colleagues and management.
    Keywords: Civic Social Capital, Social Trust, Institutional Trust, Workplace Social Capital, Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment
    JEL: Z1 Z13 J24 J28
    Date: 2015–11
  6. By: Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Lenkei, Balint
    Abstract: Over the past few decades obesity has become one of the largest public policy concerns among the adult population in the developed world. Obesity and overweight are hypothesized to affect individuals’ sociability through a number of channels, including discrimination and low self-esteem. However, whether these effects translate into differential behavioural patterns in social interactions remains unknown. In two large-scale economic experiments, we explore the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI) and social behaviour, using three paradigmatic economic games: the dictator, ultimatum, and trust games. Our first experiment employs a representative sample of a Spanish city's population (N=753), while the second employs a sample of university students from the same city (N=618). Measures of altruism, fairness/equality, trust and reciprocity are obtained from participants’ experimental decisions. Using a variety of regression specifications and control variables, our results suggest that BMI does not exert an effect on any of these social preferences. Some implications of these findings are discussed.
    Keywords: BMI; ultimatum game; dictator game; trust game; economic experiments; obesity; social preferences
    JEL: I12
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Barbieri, Paolo Nicola (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the influence of social norms on obesity. We develop a concept of social norm related to social distortion in weight perception developed through shared experiences in a common social environment with a high prevalence of obesity. The theoretical model show that when obesity is common it less likely to be recognized as a problem by mitigating individual's health concerns. We prove that our empirical measures of such a social component are significant in influencing individual weight using regional data from the Health Survey for England. We use the marked difference in obesity rates between 2002 and 2006 to undertake a Fairlie decomposition analysis. Our findings suggest that when we exclude social norms our estimates explain less than 50% of the obesity gap. When we include the social norms our estimates explain between 50% and 80% of the overall obesity gap. By stratifying the result by gender we are able to prove that men are more susceptible to social distortion, especially the low-skilled. Medium- and low-skilled women, similarly, are more susceptible to environmental pressure than highly-skilled women, who result as being completely unaffected by it. Men are also affected by a broader set of environmental pressures, with respect to women. Overall, these results suggest that an individual's concern over his or her body weight is closely related to the actual weight of his or her reference network.
    Keywords: Obesity; non-linear decomposition; social norm
    JEL: D91 I10 I12 I18 Z13
    Date: 2015–12
  8. By: Effrosyni Adamopoulou (Bank of Italy); Ezgi Kaya (Cardiff Business School)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on young adults in the US living with their parents and studies the role of peers. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health we analyse the influence of high school friends on the nest-leaving decision of young adults. We achieve identification by exploiting the differences in the timing of leaving the parental home among peers, the individual-specific nature of the peer groups, and by including school and grade fixed effects. Our results indicate that there are statistically significant peer effects on the decision of young adults to leave parental home. This is true even after we control for labour and housing market conditions and for a comprehensive list of individual and family-of-origin characteristics that are not usually observed by the econometrician. We discuss various mechanisms and we confirm the robustness of our results through a placebo exercise. Our findings correspond with the increasing trend of young adults living with their parents that has been observed in the US during the last 50 years.
    Keywords: peer effects, friends, living arrangements, leaving parental home
    JEL: D10 J12 J60 Z13
    Date: 2015–11
  9. By: Quang Truong (Maastricht School of Management)
    Abstract: After two decades of GPD high growth in the 1991-2010, Vietnam is currently entering a declining phase. The on-going developments would virtually nullify all achievements the country has previously achieved and deny the CPV’s promise to transform Vietnam into an industrialized country in 2020. The ‘ideology vs reality’ dilemma facing Vietnam today is generally held as the main block holding back the momentum Doi moi campaign initially generated growth, but has prevented the country jump starting and accelerating economic growth toward a more qualitative and sustainable development phase. This is because of the CPV continued insistence on building ‘a market economy with socialist orientation’. The ‘socialist’ model of development, typically of a state capitalist or network-based economy, which favors SOEs as the ‘pillars’ of the economy with all the privileges and protection attached to it, has drained the country’s resources and prevented the private sector from joining the market and the development process on an equal footing. Instead, it has created and nurtured a breeding ground for corruption, cronyism, favoritism and nepotism that leaves little room for private innovation, efficient production and effective management so that Vietnamese products can compete and grow sustainably in international markets. What Vietnam really needs to come out of the dire situation of today and to become more sustainable is a development-oriented market economy and a public administration for development, if the country was to keep pace with development in the region, let alone in the world. Furthermore, a check-and-balance mechanism is needed to allow the participation of a more active civil society to counter the excessive abuse of power brought about by the corrupted network that has caused severe threats the economic sustainability of the country.
    Keywords: Vietnam, development model, network-based economy, cronyism, corruption, civil society
    Date: 2015–12
  10. By: Ye-Feng Chen (College of Economics, Zhejiang University, China); Shu-Guang Jiang (Centre for Economic Research, Shandong University, China); Marie Claire Villeval (Université de Lyon, F-69007, France; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne, 93, Chemin des Mouilles, F-69130, Ecully, France; Université Lyon 2, Lyon, F-69007, France)
    Abstract: We investigate corruption as a social dilemma by means of a bribery game in which a risk of collective failure is introduced when the number of public officials accepting a bribe from firms reaches a certain threshold. We show that, despite the social risk, the pursuit of individual interest prevails and leads to the elimination of honest officials over time. Reducing the size of the groups while increasing the probability of collective failure diminishes the public officials’ corruptibility but is not sufficient to eliminate the tragedy of corruption altogether.
    Keywords: Corruption, bribing, social dilemma, collective failure, coordination, experiment
    JEL: C92 D73 H41
    Date: 2015

This nep-soc issue is ©2015 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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