nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒07‒02
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Individual trust: does quality of public services matter? By Silvia Camussi; Anna Laura Mancini
  2. Ties that Bind: Network Redistributive Pressure and Economic Decisions in Village Economies By Di Falco, Salvatore; Feri, Francesco; Pin, Paolo; Vollenweider, Xavier
  3. Social Capital: From One-Dimensional Man to One-Dimensions Economy and Economics By Ben Fine
  4. Relational Altruism and Giving in Social Groups By Scharf, Kimberley; Smith, Sarah
  5. Can War Foster Cooperation? By Bauer, Michal; Blattman, Christopher; Chytilova, Julie; Henrich, Joseph; Miguel, Edward; Mitts, Tamar
  6. The behavioural implications of women.s empowerment programmes By Lata Gangadharan; Tarun Jain; Pushkar Maitra; Joseph Vecci
  7. Gendered Entrepreneurship Networks By Markussen, Simen; Røed, Knut
  8. Does Emigration Delay Political Change? Evidence from Italy during the Great Recession By Massimo Anelli; Giovanni Peri
  9. Are the Japanese Unique? Evidence from Household Saving and Bequest Behavior By Charles Yuji Horioka
  10. Institutionalize reciprocity to overcome the public goods provision problem By Hiroki Ozono; Yoshio Kamijo; Kazumi Shimizu
  11. Homophily and transitivity in dynamic network formation By Bryan S. Graham
  12. (In)Efficient Interbank Networks By Noémie NAVARRO; Fabio CASTIGLIONESI

  1. By: Silvia Camussi (Bank of Italy); Anna Laura Mancini (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on the determinants of social capital by investigating how the quality of local services influences individual’s generalized trust and trust in local government. Using data from the Italian National Statistic Office survey “Aspetti della vita quotidiana”, after building a measure for local services’ quality, we study its effect on individual’s social capital using linear regressions techniques. Our results suggest that good local public services affect positively individual’s social capital, the effect being stronger for trust in local institutions. To deal with possible endogeneity issues, the robustness of our results is tested using two-step GMM estimation, while the procedure proposed by Altonji et al. (2005) is used to study the sensitivity to omitted variables. Finally, the paper extends the analysis to further social capital measures (family ties, network social capital and trust in central government) and to alternative quality measures. We also test the existence of age related differences in the influence of public services’ quality on individual trust measures.
    Keywords: trust, quality of public services, IV estimation
    JEL: C26 Z10 H70
    Date: 2016–06
  2. By: Di Falco, Salvatore; Feri, Francesco; Pin, Paolo; Vollenweider, Xavier
    Abstract: In this paper, we identify the economic implications of the pressure to share resources within a social network. Through a set of field experiments in rural Tanzania we randomly increased the expected harvest of a treatment group by the assignment of an improved and much more productive variety of maize. We find that individuals in this group reduced their interaction with their own network. We also find that treated individuals reduced labor input by asking fewer network members to work on their farm during the growing season and, as a result, obtained fewer harvest gains.
    Keywords: Ego-network, Field Experiment, Redistributive pressure, Harvest, Tanzania, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty, International Development, Labor and Human Capital, O12, O13, C93, H26, Z13,
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Ben Fine (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)
    Abstract: The evolution to dominance of neoclassical economics is reviewed in light of Marcuseís One-Dimensional Man in the wake of the fiftieth anniversary of the classicís first publication.
    Keywords: Economics Imperialism, Neoclassical economics, Marcuse
    JEL: B13 B50
    Date: 2016–06
  4. By: Scharf, Kimberley; Smith, Sarah
    Abstract: Much fundraising is done by individuals within existing social groups. Exploiting a unique dataset, we demonstrate (i) a positive relationship between social group size and the number of donations; (ii) a negative relationship between group size and the size of individual donations; (iii) no clear relationship between group size and the total amount raised. Free riding with respect to the activity being funded cannot explain the relationship between group size and donation size, since the number of social group members is only a subset of total contributors. Instead, the findings are consistent with the notion that giving in social groups is motivated by "relational altruism" .
    Keywords: Online giving; Fundraising; Social groups; Donations; Charity; Altruism
    JEL: D64 H31 Z1
    Date: 2016–06
  5. By: Bauer, Michal; Blattman, Christopher; Chytilova, Julie; Henrich, Joseph; Miguel, Edward; Mitts, Tamar
    Abstract: In the past decade, nearly 20 studies have found a strong, persistent pattern in surveys and behavioral experiments from over 40 countries: individual exposure to war violence tends to increase social cooperation at the local level, including community participation and prosocial behavior. Thus while war has many negative legacies for individuals and societies, it appears to leave a positive legacy in terms of local cooperation and civic engagement. We discuss, synthesize and reanalyze the emerging body of evidence, and weigh alternative explanations. There is some indication that war violence especially enhances in-group or "parochial" norms and preferences, a finding that, if true, suggests that the rising social cohesion we document need not promote broader peace.
    Keywords: Cooperation; post-conflict development; social preferences; war
    JEL: C80 D74 H56 O10 O12 O40
    Date: 2016–06
  6. By: Lata Gangadharan; Tarun Jain; Pushkar Maitra; Joseph Vecci
    Abstract: Participatory community programmes are a potentially important tool for social empowerment and economic development. How do participatory programmes that specifically target women affect community trust and cohesion? This question is important since the longterm success of such programmes might depend critically on the behavioural transformation that they generate. We examine this question in the context of JEEViKA, a community-based empowerment programme that targets women in Bihar, India. Field experiments and surveys in 40 villages in Bihar reveal that JEEViKA is associated with significantly greater trust by and towards women suggesting an important role for community programmes in building economic relationships. We do not find significant differences between JEEViKA and non-JEEViKA villages in term of trustworthiness. Finally, we also find evidence that exposure to JEEViKA is associated with changes in attitudes towards women and their appropriate role in society..
    Keywords: community development programmes, women.s empowerment, artefactual field experiments, trust, Bihar, India
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Markussen, Simen (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research); Røed, Knut (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)
    Abstract: In virtually all industrialized countries, women are underrepresented in entrepreneurship, and the gender gap exhibits a remarkable persistence. We examine one particular source of persistence, namely the prevalence of gendered networks and associated peer effects. We study how early career entrepreneurship is affected by existing entrepreneurship among neighbors, family members, and recent schoolmates. Based on an instrumental variables strategy, we identify strong peer effects. While men are more influenced by other men, women are more influenced by other women. We estimate that differences between male and female peer groups explain approximately half of the gender gap in early career entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: early career entrepreneurship, peer effects, gender gap, instrumental variables
    JEL: L26 M13 J16
    Date: 2016–06
  8. By: Massimo Anelli; Giovanni Peri
    Abstract: Mobility within the European Union (EU) brings great opportunities and large overall benefits. Economically stagnant areas, however, may be deprived of talent through emigration, which may harm dynamism and delay political, and economic, change. A significant episode of emigration took place between 2010 and 2014 from Italy following the deep economic recession beginning in 2008 that hit most acutely countries in the southern EU. This period coincided with significant political change in Italy. Combining administrative data on Italian citizens who reside abroad and data on characteristics of city councils, city mayors and local vote, we analyze whether emigration reduced political change. The sudden emigration wave interacted with the pre-existing networks of emigration from Italian municipalities allow us to construct a proxy for emigration that is municipality-specific and independent of local political and economic trends. Using this proxy as an instrument, we find that municipalities with larger emigration rates had smaller shares of young, college educated and women among local politicians. They were also more likely to have had municipal councils dismissed due to inefficiency or corruption, a larger share of vote for status-quo-supporting parties and lower political participation. Migration was also associated with lower firm creation.
    JEL: H7 J61
    Date: 2016–06
  9. By: Charles Yuji Horioka
    Abstract: In this paper, we attempt to shed light on whether Japanese households are rational or if their behavior is influenced by culture and social norms by examining their saving and bequest behavior. To summarize our main findings, we find that Japan’s household saving rate showed great volatility, was often low and even negative, and was high only during the 25-year period from around 1960 until the mid-1980s (if we exclude the war years) and that we can explain the high level of, and trends over time in, Japan’s household saving rate via various socioeconomic and policy variables. This seems to suggest that the Japanese are not a saving-loving people and that their saving behavior is not governed by culture and social norms. Moreover, the bequest behavior of the Japanese suggests that they are less altruistic toward their children and less reliant on their children than other peoples, suggesting that the alleged social norm of strong family ties in Japan is largely a myth, and the Japanese do not appear to be appreciably more concerned about the continuation of the family line or the family business than other peoples, suggesting that the influence of the “ie” system is apparently not so pervasive either. However, we argue that these findings do not necessarily mean that culture and social norms do not matter.
    Date: 2016–06
  10. By: Hiroki Ozono (Kagoshima University); Yoshio Kamijo (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology); Kazumi Shimizu (Waseda University)
    Abstract: Cooperation is fundamental to human societies, and one of the important paths for its emergence and maintenance is reciprocity. In prisoner's dilemma (PD) experiments, reciprocal strategies are often effective at attaining and maintaining high cooperation. In many public goods (PG) games or n-person PD experiments, however, reciprocal strategies are not successful at engendering cooperation. In the present paper, we attribute this difficulty to a coordination problem against free riding among reciprocators: Because it is difficult for the reciprocators to coordinate their behaviors against free riders, this may lead to inequality among players, which will demotivate them from cooperating in future rounds. We propose a new mechanism, institutionalized reciprocity (IR), which refers to embedding the reciprocal strategy as an institution (i.e., institutionalizing the reciprocal strategy). We experimentally demonstrate that IR can prevent groups of reciprocators from falling into coordination failure and achieve high cooperation in PG games. In conclusion, we argue that a natural extension of the present study will be to investigate the possibility of IR to serve as a collective punishment system.
    Keywords: cooperation, public goods game, laboratory experiment, institutionalized reciprocity, raise the stakes strategy
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 M54
    Date: 2015–07
  11. By: Bryan S. Graham (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: In social and economic networks linked agents often share additional links in common. There are two competing explanations for this phenomenon. First, agents may have a structural taste for transitive links – the returns to linking may be higher if two agents share links in common. Second, agents may assortatively match on unobserved attributes, a process called homophily. I study parameter identifiability in a simple model of dynamic network formation with both effects. Agents form, maintain, and sever links over time in order to maximize utility. The return to linking may be higher if agents share friends in common. A pair-specific utility component allows for arbitrary homophily on time-invariant agent attributes. I derive conditions under which it is possible to detect the presence of a taste for transitivity in the presence of assortative matching on unobservables. I leave the joint distribution of the initial network and the pair-specific utility component, a very high dimensional object, unrestricted. The analysis is of the 'fixed effects' type. The identification result is constructive, suggesting an analog estimator, whose single large network properties I characterize.
    Keywords: Strategic Network Formation, Homophily, Transitivity, Triads, Assortative Matching, Initial Conditions Problem, Panel Data, Fixed Effects
    JEL: C31 C33 C35
    Date: 2016–04–15
    Abstract: We study the optimality and the (decentralized) formation of an interbank network. Banks can offer higher expected returns to depositors by establishing connections in the network. However, banks have an incentive to gamble with depositors\' money if not sufficiently capitalized. The bankruptcy of a bank negatively affects the banks connected to it (counterparty risk). We show that both the efficient network and the decentralized one are characterized by a core-periphery structure. Nevertheless, when bank capital transfers are not possible, the two network structures coincide only if counterparty risk is sufficiently low. Otherwise, the decentralized network is under-connected as compared to the optimal one. Finally, we show that bank capital transfers do not avoid the formation of inefficient networks.
    Keywords: Interbank Network, Core-periphery, Liquidity Coinsurance, Counterparty Risk
    JEL: D85 G21
    Date: 2016

This nep-soc issue is ©2016 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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