nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒02‒05
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Diversity and social capital within the workplace: evidence from Britain By Thomas Breda; Alan Manning
  2. What Shapes Europeans’ Attitudes toward Xeno-philia(/phobia)? By Economidou, Claire; Karamanis, Dimitris; Kechrinioti, Alexandra; Xesfingi, Sofia
  3. On the origin and consequences of racism By Bonick, Matthew; Farfán-Vallespín, Antonio
  4. Household Entrepreneurship and Social Networks: Panel Data Evidence from Vietnam By Nguyen, Huu Chi; Nordman, Christophe Jalil
  5. Not for everyone: Personality, mental health, and the use of online social networks By Howley, P.; Boyce, C.;
  6. Social Networks and Mental Health Problems: Evidence from Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China By Meng, Xin; Xue, Sen
  7. Common Resources Management and the "Dark Side" of Collective Action: an Impact Evaluation for Madagascar’s Forests By Sébastien Desbureaux
  8. Women's Career Choices, Social Norms and Child Care Policies By Barigozzi, Francesca; Cremer, Helmuth; Roeder, Kerstin
  9. Cognitive empathy in conflict situations By Gauer, Florian; Kuzmics, Christoph
  10. Who Cares about Social Image? By Jana Friedrichsen; Dirk Engelmann

  1. By: Thomas Breda; Alan Manning
    Abstract: This paper uses the British Workplace Employee Relations Survey to investigate the impact of gender and ethnic diversity on workers’ level of trust in managers and the extent of identity with the values and objectives of the firm – dimensions of what we might call social capital within the workplace. These are both factors that one might expect to make firms more co-operative and, hence, productive. In contrast to much of the existing literature we pay particular attention to the estimation of causal effects, using an instrumental variable strategy. We find evidence that both women and minorities have higher levels of workplace trust and identity as individuals. But we also find evidence that a higher female share in the plant is associated with higher trust and identity (stronger for trust than identity) and that a higher minority share is associated lower trust and identity (stronger for identity than trust). However, in line with much of the literature, these results are not always significantly different from zero and they are sensitive to specification.
    Keywords: trust; identity; diversity; workplace
    JEL: M5
    Date: 2016–12
  2. By: Economidou, Claire; Karamanis, Dimitris; Kechrinioti, Alexandra; Xesfingi, Sofia
    Abstract: Migration has strongly manifested itself to historic highs, creating divisive views among politicians, policy makers and individuals. The present paper studies the Europeans’ attitudes toward immigration and the contextual factors that shape these attitudes. Based on 267,282 respondents from 22 countries and over the period 2002-2014, we find that despite the eventful past years, Europeans, on average, are still positive toward immigrants with the North European countries to be the most xenophile to immigrants of all backgrounds. High educational level and political orientation (right-wing) are among the most important individual characteristics that associate with xenophile and xenophobic sentiments, respectively. Macroeconomic conditions and ethnic diverse environments play a very important role in shaping public attitudes. A salient finding of our analysis is that regardless of the impact of other contextual factors, individuals (and countries) with high social capital do exhibit more positive attitudes toward immigration than the rest of the population (countries). Social capital further moderates the negative effects of any "perceived threat" on people’s opinions about immigrants.
    Keywords: immigration, social capital, public attitude, survey, Europe
    JEL: C25 F22 J61 O52
    Date: 2017–01–31
  3. By: Bonick, Matthew; Farfán-Vallespín, Antonio
    Abstract: Using a novel method to measure racism at the individual and country level, we show, our measure of racism has a strong negative and significant impact on economic development, quality of institutions, education and social capital. We test different hypotheses concerning the origin of racism and its channels of impact to establish causality. We find racism is not correlated with measures for the coexistence of different racial or ethnic groups or ethnically- motivated conflicts. Importantly, we show, for former colonies, racism is strongly correlated with the presence of extractive institutions during colonial times, even after controlling for current institutions, GDP per capita and education. We argue, extractive colonial institutions not only had a negative impact on the political and economic institutions but also shaped the cultural values of the population. We claim colonial powers instilled racism among the population of their colonies in order to weaken their ability for collective action.
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Nguyen, Huu Chi (University of Paris 13); Nordman, Christophe Jalil (IRD, DIAL, Paris-Dauphine)
    Abstract: Using a unique panel of household businesses for Vietnam, this paper sheds light on the links between households' and entrepreneurs' social networks and business performance. We address two related questions. One first question asks if we can find evidence of a differentiated effect of employment of members of the family versus hired workers on the business performance. A second question tackles the respective effects of various dimensions of social networks on the business technical efficiency. The hypothesis is that, beyond the channel of labour productivity, entrepreneurs that are confronted with an unfavourable social environment may produce less efficiently and realize a lower output than what could be possible with the same amount of resources. We find evidence of a marginal productivity differential between family and hired labour and highlight results consistent with the presence of adverse social network effects faced by households running a business, in particular ethnic minorities. We stress the importance of professional networks for successful entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: family labour, kinship and ethnic ties, sharing norms, social network capital, Informality, household business, panel, Vietnam
    JEL: D13 D61 O12
    Date: 2017–01
  5. By: Howley, P.; Boyce, C.;
    Abstract: Much previous research has examined the relationship between online socialising and mental health, but conclusions are mixed and often contradictory. In this present paper we unpack the online social networking - mental health relationship by examining to what extent the relationship between these variables is personality-specific. Consistent with the idea that communicating through the internet is fundamentally different from face-to-face socializing, we find that on average, use of social networking web-sites is negatively associated with mental health. However, we find that the mental health response is dependent upon an individual’s underlying personality traits. Specifically, individuals who are either relatively extraverted or agreeable are not substantively affected from spending significant amounts of time on social networking web-sites. On the other hand, individuals who are relatively more neurotic or conscientiousness are much more likely to experience substantive reductions in their mental health from using social networking web-sites. We suggest that if the aim of public policy is to mitigate the adverse mental health effects from excessive internet use, then one-size-fits all measures will likely be misplaced. More generally, our research highlights the importance of conducting differentiated analyses of internet users when examining the health effects from internet use.
    Keywords: personality traits; psychological health; internet; social interaction;
    JEL: I10
    Date: 2017–01
  6. By: Meng, Xin (Australian National University); Xue, Sen (Jinan University)
    Abstract: Over the past two decades, more than 160 million rural residents have migrated to cities in China. They are usually separated from their rural families and work in an unfamiliar, and sometimes hostile, city environment. This paper investigates to what extent city social networks alleviate mental health problems among these migrants. Using the longitudinal migrant survey from the Rural-to-Urban Migration in China (RUMiC) project, we find that larger social networks are significantly correlated with fewer mental health problems in both OLS and fixed effect estimates. To mitigate the endogeneity issue, we use past rainfall in the home county and the distance between home village and the closest transportation centre as the instrument variables for city social networks. The instrument variable estimates and fixed effect instrumental variable estimates suggest that an additional person in the city social networks of migrants reduces GHQ 12 by 0.12 to 0.16 Likert points. The results are robust for migrants who are less educated, who work long hours and who do not have access to social insurances in the city.
    Keywords: mental health, social networks, migration, China
    JEL: I12 I18 J61
    Date: 2017–01
  7. By: Sébastien Desbureaux (CERDI, Université d'Auvergne & CIRAD)
    Abstract: A sufficient level of collective action between community members is often presented as a strong pre-requisite to sustainably governing local common property resources(CPR). What if in some contexts instead, strong collective action led to short-term depletion of CPR instead of their sustainable use? This paper brings to light causal evidence on the environmental impact of establishing community-managed forests in Madagascar and highlights the complexities underlying collective action in their sustainable management. I compile fine-scale deforestation data over 15 years, use a unique spatial census of locally managed CPR and mobilize firsthand field data from four case studies to show that transferring management rights to local communities has failed to decrease deforestation. Instead, the policy has led to an increase in deforestation in some areas, often when collective action was strong, not when it was weak. This is what I call the possible "dark side" of collective action.
    Keywords: Commons, Collective Action, Impact Evaluation, Experimental Economics, Forests, Madagascar
    JEL: Q15 Q23 D02
    Date: 2016–12
  8. By: Barigozzi, Francesca (University of Bologna); Cremer, Helmuth (Toulouse School of Economics); Roeder, Kerstin (University of Augsburg)
    Abstract: Our model explains the observed gender-specific patterns of career and child care choices through endogenous social norms. We study how these norms interact with the gender wage gap. We show that via the social norm a couple's child care and career choices impose an externality on other couples, so that the laissez-faire is inefficient. We use our model to study the design and effectiveness of three commonly used policies. We find that child care subsidies and women quotas can be effective tools to mitigate or eliminate the externality. Parental leave, however, may even intensify the externality and decrease welfare.
    Keywords: social norms, child care, women's career choices, women quotas, child care subsidies, parental leave
    JEL: D13 H23 J16 J22
    Date: 2017–01
  9. By: Gauer, Florian (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University); Kuzmics, Christoph (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Abstract: Two individuals are involved in a conflict situation in which preferences are ex ante uncertain. While they eventually learn their own preferences, they have to pay a small cost if they want to learn their opponent’s preferences. We show that, for sufficiently small positive costs of information acquisition, in any Bayesian Nash equilibrium of the resulting game of incomplete information the probability of getting informed about the opponent’s preferences is bounded away from zero and one.
    Keywords: Incomplete Information, Information Acquisition, Theory of Mind, Conflict, Imperfect Empathy
    Date: 2016–01–15
  10. By: Jana Friedrichsen; Dirk Engelmann
    Abstract: This paper experimentally investigates how concerns for social approval relate to intrinsic motivations to purchase ethically. Participants state their willingness-to-pay for both a fair trade and a conventional chocolate bar in private or publicly. A standard model of social image predicts that all increase their fair trade premium when facing an audience. We find that the premium is higher in public than in private only for participants who preferred a conventional over a fair trade chocolatebar in a pre-lab choice. This is captured by a generalized model where intrinsic preferences and the concern for social approval are negatively correlated.
    Keywords: Image concerns, ethical consumption, fair trade, social approval, crowding out, experiments
    JEL: D03 C91 D12
    Date: 2017

This nep-soc issue is ©2017 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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