nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒02‒29
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Corporate Culture, Societal Culture, and Institutions By Guiso, Luigi; Sapienza, Paola; Zingales, Luigi
  2. Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons? By Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco
  3. Irrigation as a Determinant of Social Capital in India: A Large-Scale Survey Analysis By von Carnap-Bornheim, Tillmann
  4. GThou shalt not steal (from hard-working people)An experiment on respect for property claims By Marco Faillo; Matteo Rizzolli; Stephan Tontrup
  5. A model of belief influence in large social networks By Antonio Jiménez-Martínez
  6. Overcoming Coordination Failure in a Critical Mass Game: Strategic Motives and Action Disclosure By Aidas Masiliunas
  7. Fighting Corruption and the Use of Bribes in the Palestinian Territories: With or Without Social Capital By Luca Andriani
  8. Redistribution through Charity and Optimal Taxation when People are Concerned with Social Status By Aronsson, Thomas; Johansson-Stenman, Olof; Wendner, Ronald
  9. Cooperation, Motivation and Social Balance By Bosworth, Steven J.; Singer, Tania; Snower, Dennis J.
  10. Endogenous correlated network dynamics By Rui Gong; Frank Page; Myrna Wooders
  11. Risk behaviour, fraud and e-trust of individual consumers in Spain By Martínez de Ibarreta, Carlos; Gijón, Covadonga

  1. By: Guiso, Luigi; Sapienza, Paola; Zingales, Luigi
    Abstract: While both cultural and legal norms (institutions) help foster cooperation, culture is the more primitive of the two and itself sustains formal institutions. Cultural changes are rarer and slower than changes in legal institutions, which makes it difficult to identify the role played by culture. Cultural changes and their effects are easier to identify in simpler, more controlled, environments, such as corporations. Corporate culture, thus, is not only interesting per se, but also as a laboratory to study the role of societal culture and the way it can be changed.
    Keywords: corporate culture; cultural economics; institutions
    JEL: K4 Z1
    Date: 2015–02
  2. By: Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco
    Abstract: Online social networks, such as Facebook, disclose an unprecedented volume of personal information amplifying the occasions for social comparisons, which are a source of frustration. We test the hypothesis that the use of social networking sites (SNS) increases social comparisons as proxied by people’s dissatisfaction with their income. After controlling for the possibility of reverse causality, our results suggest that SNS users have a higher probability to compare their achievements with those of others. We conclude that SNS can be a strong engine of frustration for their users.
    Keywords: social networks; social networking sites; social comparisons; satisfaction with income; relative deprivation.
    JEL: D83 I31 O33 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2016–02–03
  3. By: von Carnap-Bornheim, Tillmann
    Abstract: Practicing agriculture requires organisation and coordination. To analyse the extent to which differences in agricultural practices can account for variation in social capital, a large survey containing indicators of social capital is combined with detailed agricultural statistics. The main factor under analysis is irrigation, together with prevalent grain sorts, thereby building on prior research. The richness of the datasets allows to explore various dimensions of social capital in geographic detail and their distribution among societal groups. Results reveal a significant negative influence of irrigation on the prevalence of conflict and an increased likelihood for communal conflict solution strategies within communities. These results are strongest for landholders working their own land, yet lose significance when accounting for intra-district correlation. For other indicators of social capital such as confidence and membership in organisations, the results are less conclusive, yet some interesting relations emerge.
    Keywords: Determinants of Social Capital; Agricultural Organisation; Irrigation; Distribution of Social Capital; Rice Theory of Culture
    JEL: N55 Q15 Z13
    Date: 2016–02–05
  4. By: Marco Faillo (University of Trento); Matteo Rizzolli (LUMSA University); Stephan Tontrup (New York University)
    Abstract: Abstract The institution of property is void without legal and social enforcement against theft. To address wasteful competition over resources, societies have long developed strategies that encompass -inter alia- behavioral traits, social norms and legal institutions to promote the respect and enforcement of property rights. On the other hand, a growing body of biological and ethological evidence suggests that several other animal species establish and respect some forms of property even in the absence of institutions. Would human beings respect others' property in the absence of institutions? Do people posses some innate sense of property, or do they respect property only because of legal and social enforcement? In this study, we explore this issue with a lab experiment that resembles a famous thought experiment proposed by Plato. As Plato sought to understand how one ought to behave when he or sheis completely shielded by the consequences of his actions,we study whether people respect property once full anonymity is granted. In this experiment, we implement a Free-Form Dictator game where participants can both give and take up to five scratchcards from a passive counterpart that they have either previously bought outside the lab with their own money (legal treatments) or gained inside the lab via an effort task (effortful treatments). In conclusion to the experiment, evidence is provided of a (weak) sense of property. We also provide evidence that property in the lab is better established through an effort tasks than through the use of subject's own real property brought from outside the lab.
    Keywords: property rights, dictator game, bully game, taking, stealing, anonymity, effort, scratchcards
    JEL: C91 D23 K11 P14 P26
    Date: 2016–01
  5. By: Antonio Jiménez-Martínez (Division of Economics, CIDE)
    Abstract: This paper develops a model of evolution of beliefs through communication in an exogenous social network. We assume that the agents are Bayesian updaters and that the network enables them to listen to the opinion of others about some uncertain parameter of interest. We explore the effects of the network on the agents' long-run first-order beliefs about the parameter and investigate the aggregation of private information in large societies. Each agent observes private signals about the value of the unknown parameter and, according to his connections in the network, receives private messages from others as well. A message conveys some information about the signal observed by the sender and about the messages that the sender receives from other indirectly connected agents. The informativeness of a message is not strategically chosen but it is exogenously given by the intensity of the connection. Both signals and messages are independent and identically distributed across time but not necessarily across agents. We first characterize the long-run behavior of an agent's beliefs in terms of some entropy-based measures of the conditional distributions of signals and messages available to the agent. Then, we show that the achievement of a consensus in the society is closely related to the presence of prominent agents who are able to change the evolution of other agents' opinions over time. Finally, we show that the influence of the prominent agents must not be very high in order for the agents to aggregate correctly their private sources of information in the long-run.
    Keywords: Communication networks, Bayesian updating, private signals, private messages, consensus, correct limiting beliefs
    JEL: D82 D83 D85
    Date: 2014–04
  6. By: Aidas Masiliunas (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM) - AMU - Aix-Marseille Université)
    Abstract: We study whether coordination failure is more often overcome if players can easily disclose their actions. In an experiment subjects first choose their action and then choose whether to disclose this action to other group members, and disclosure costs are varied between treatments. We find that no group overcomes coordination failure when action disclosure costs are high, but half of the groups do so when the costs are low. Simulations with a belief learning model can predict which groups will overcome coordination failure, but only if it is assumed that players are either farsighted, risk-seeking or pro-social. To distinguish between these explanations we collected additional data on individual preferences and the degree of farsightedness. We find that in the low cost treatment players classified as more farsighted more often deviate from an inefficient convention and disclose this action, while the effect of risk and social preferences is not significant.
    Keywords: lock-in,coordination failure,learning,strategic teaching,information,collective action,critical mass
    Date: 2016–02
  7. By: Luca Andriani (Department of Management, Birkbeck College University of London)
    Abstract: The presence of dysfunctional formal institutions in the Palestinian Territories might drive the citizens to concentrate on alternative forms of governance more community-oriented. Under these circumstances the set of informal institutions embedded in the social capital of the Palestinian community might help to explain the Palestinians attitude towards corrupt aversion. Hence, by using a unique Palestinian survey conducted in 2007 in West Bank and Gaza Strip, we analyse the relationship between social capital and Palestinians attitude towards corrupt aversion. The variables of social capital refer to voluntary activities and civic attitude while corrupt aversion is captured by the Palestinians’ attitudes towards the use of bribes at work and the importance of fighting corruption. A bivariate probit model reports that corrupt aversion increases with civic attitude and is lower among Palestinians involved in voluntary activities. Predicted conditional probabilities suggest that under negative view of formal institutions and lack of social trust, Palestinians need more civic attitude to cope with corrupt aversion.
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Aronsson, Thomas; Johansson-Stenman, Olof; Wendner, Ronald
    Abstract: This paper deals with tax policy responses to charitable giving based on a model of optimal redistributive income taxation. The major contribution is the simultaneous treatment of (i) warm-glow and stigma effects of charitable donations; (ii) that the warm glow of giving and stigma of receiving charity may to some extent depend on relative comparisons; and (iii) that people are also concerned with their relative consumption more generally. Whether charity should be taxed or supported turns out to largely depend on the relative strengths of the warm glow of giving and the stigma of receiving charity, respectively, and on the positional externalities caused by charitable donations. In addition, imposing stigma on the mimicker (via a relaxation of the self-selection constraint) strengthens the case for subsidizing charity. We also consider a case where the government is unable to target the charitable giving through a direct tax instrument, and examine how the optimal marginal income tax structure is adjusted in response to charitable giving.
    Keywords: Conspicuous consumption, conspicuous charitable giving, optimal income taxation, warm glow, stigma
    JEL: D03 D62 H21 H23
    Date: 2016–01–08
  9. By: Bosworth, Steven J. (Kiel Institute for the World Economy); Singer, Tania (Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences); Snower, Dennis J. (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)
    Abstract: This paper examines the reflexive interplay between individual decisions and social forces to analyze the evolution of cooperation in the presence of "multi-directedness," whereby people's preferences depend on their psychological motives. People have access to multiple, discrete motives. Different motives may be activated by different social settings. Inter-individual differences in dispositional types affect the responsiveness of people's motives to their social settings. The evolution of these dispositional types is driven by changes in the frequencies of social settings. In this context, economic policies can influence economic decisions not merely by modifying incentives operating through given preferences, but also by influencing people's motives (thereby changing their preferences) and by changing the distribution of dispositional types in the population (thereby changing their motivational responsiveness to social settings).
    Keywords: motivation, reflexivity, cooperation, social dilemma, endogenous preferences, dispositions
    JEL: A13 C72 D01 D03 D62 D64
    Date: 2016–02
  10. By: Rui Gong; Frank Page; Myrna Wooders
    Abstract: We model the structure and strategy of social interactions prevailing at any point in time as a directed network and we address the following open question in the theory of social and economic network formation: given the rules of network and coalition formation, preferences of individuals over networks, strategic behavior of coalitions in forming networks, and the trembles of nature, what network and coalitional dynamics are likely to emerge and persist. Our main contributions are to formulate the problem of network and coalition formation as a dynamic, stochastic game and to show that: (i) the game possesses a correlated stationary Markov equilibrium (in network and coalition formation strategies), (ii) together with the trembles of nature, this correlated stationary equilibrium determines an equilibrium Markov process of network and coalition formation, and (iii) this endogenous Markov process possesses a finite set of ergodic measures, and generates a finite, disjoint collection of nonempty subsets of networks and coalitions, each constituting a basin of attraction. Moreover, we extend to the setting of endogenous Markov dynamics the notions of pairwise stability (Jackson-Wolinsky, 1996) and the path dominance core (Page-Wooders, 2009a). We show that in order for any network-coalition pair to emerge and persist, it is necessary that the pair reside in one of finitely many basins of attraction. The results we obtain here for endogenous network dynamics and stochastic basins of attraction are the dynamic analogs of our earlier results on endogenous network formation and strategic basins of attraction in static, abstract games of network formation (Page and Wooders, 2009a), and build on the seminal contributions of Jackson and Watts (2002), Konishi and Ray (2003), and Dutta, Ghosal, and Ray (2005).
    Keywords: endogenous network dynamics; dynamic stochastic games of network formation; stationary Markov correlated equilibrium; equilibrium Markov process of network formation; basins of attraction; Harris decomposition; ergodic probability measures; dynamic path dominance core; dynamic pairwise stability
    JEL: A14 C71 C72
    Date: 2015–06
  11. By: Martínez de Ibarreta, Carlos; Gijón, Covadonga
    Date: 2015

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