nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒03‒26
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Corporate Culture: Evidence from the Field By John R. Graham; Campbell R. Harvey; Jillian Popadak; Shivaram Rajgopal
  2. The Social Status-Enhancing Power of Social Ties By Alessandro Bucciol; Simona Cicognani; Luca Zarri
  3. Mapping the Dimensions of Social Capital By Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
  4. Banking on Trust: How Debit Cards Enable the Poor to Save More By Pierre Bachas; Paul Gertler; Sean Higgins; Enrique Seira
  5. Clap along if you know what happiness is to you! Wealth, Trust and Subjective Well-being By Anne MUSSON; Damien ROUSSELIÈRE
  6. Homophily and the Persistence of Disagreement By Melguizo, Isabel
  7. The Challenge of Measuring Corporate Social Irresponsibility By Davide Fiaschi; Elisa Giuliani; Nicola Salvati
  8. Is the Internet Causing Political Polarization? Evidence from Demographics By Levi Boxell; Matthew Gentzkow; Jesse M. Shapiro

  1. By: John R. Graham; Campbell R. Harvey; Jillian Popadak; Shivaram Rajgopal
    Abstract: Does corporate culture matter? Can differences in corporate culture explain why similar firms diverge with one succeeding and the other failing? To answer these questions, we use a novel survey and interview-based analysis of 1,348 North American firms. Over half of senior executives believe that corporate culture is a top-three driver of firm value and 92% believe that improving their culture would increase their firm's value. Surprisingly, only 16% believe their culture is where it should be. Executives link culture to ethical choices (compliance, short-termism), innovation (creativity, taking appropriate risk), and value creation (productivity, acquisition premia). We assess these links within a framework that implies cultural effectiveness depends on interactions between cultural values, norms, and formal institutions. Our evidence suggests that cultural norms are as important as stated values in achieving success.
    JEL: D23 G3 G30 K22 M14 O16 Z1
    Date: 2017–03
  2. By: Alessandro Bucciol (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Simona Cicognani (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Luca Zarri (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: This paper shows that social variables capturing individuals’ sociability as well as strength of their social ties play an important role in affecting where individuals locate themselves in the social ladder, also when their objective location within society is taken into account. Using data from the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) covering the period 2006-2012, we assess individuals’ social ties and sociability through the number and quality of their friendships as well as a set of variables capturing their attitude towards others (loneliness, cynical hostility, social cohesion, discrimination and reciprocity). We find subjective social status to correlate positively with reciprocity and negatively with discrimination. Next, individuals that are more satisfied with their life seem disconnected from objective elements when subjectively evaluating their social status.
    Keywords: Subjective social status, Objectively measured social status, Sociability, Social ties.
    JEL: I31 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  3. By: Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
    Abstract: We provide a novel survey dataset of a representative sample of the Polish population (n = 1000), allowing for a detailed quantification of Bourdieu's (1986) definition of social capital as the aggregate of resources accessible to individuals through their social networks. Based on this data, we create an empirical 'map' of four distinct dimensions of social capital: network degree (number of social ties), network centrality, bridging social capital (ties with dissimilar others), and bonding social capital (ties with similar others, primarily with kin). Construction of the 'map' is based on mutual correlations among the four social capital dimensions as well as their diverse links with immediate outcomes – individuals' social trust and willingness to cooperate - and ultimate outcomes: individual incomes, life satisfaction and happiness.
    Keywords: social capital, social network structure, social trust, willingness to cooperate, new survey dataset
    JEL: D85 J31 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Pierre Bachas; Paul Gertler; Sean Higgins; Enrique Seira
    Abstract: Trust is an essential element of economic transactions, but trust in financial institutions is low, especially among the poor. Debit cards provide not only easier access to savings, but also a mechanism to monitor bank account balances and thereby build trust in a financial institution. We study a natural experiment in which debit cards are rolled out to beneficiaries of a Mexican conditional cash transfer program whose benefits are already directly deposited into a savings account. Using administrative data on over 340,000 bank accounts over four years, we find that prior to receiving a debit card, beneficiaries do not save in these accounts. Beneficiaries then begin to increase their savings after 9 to 12 months with the card. During this initial stagnant period, they use the card to check their balances frequently, and the number of checks decreases over time as their reported trust in the bank increases. After 1 to 2 years, the debit card causes the savings rate to increase by 3 to 5 percent of income. Using household survey panel data, we find that this effect represents an increase in overall savings.
    JEL: D14 D83 G21 O16
    Date: 2017–03
  5. By: Anne MUSSON (ESSCA Research Lab, Angers, France); Damien ROUSSELIÈRE (SMART-LERECO, AGROCAMPUS OUEST, INRA, Angers, France / CRISES, UQAM, Montreal, Canada)
    Abstract: Social capital and especially trust are the foundation of most personal relationships and it is considered a key factor of many economic and social outcomes since Banfield (1958), Coleman (1990) and Putnam (2000). The purpose of this study is twofold. First, we investigate the role of wealth of countries in explaining trust and another proxy of social capital, the voluntary association membership. Secondly, we analyze the link between wealth, social capital and subjective well-being. This paper answer the following questions: Does living in a richer country enhance the willingness of people to trust each other? Does living in a richer country (regarding total wealth, intangible and social capital) enhance the subjective well-being? Do trust and happiness equations differ across countries, following their wealth structures? Our original empirical approach address simultaneously these three questions, using a recursive mixed-process model, with bootstrapped standard errors accounting for the sampling design. We support the idea that social capital may turn wealth into subjective happiness and can build resilience in time of crisis.
    Keywords: Recursive Mixed-Process Model, Subjective Well-Being; Social Capital; Trust; Voluntary Association Membership; Wealth
    JEL: C35 I31 Z13
    Date: 2017–02
  6. By: Melguizo, Isabel
    Abstract: We study a dynamic model of attitude formation in which individuals average others' attitudes to develop their own. We assume that individuals exhibit homophily in sociodemographic exogenous attributes, that is, the attention they pay to each other is based on whether they possess similar attributes. We also assume that individuals exhibit homophily in attitudes, at the group level. Specifically, attributes that are salient, that is, that exhibit a substantial difference in attitudes between the groups of individuals possessing and lacking them, deserve high attention. Since we allow attention to evolve over time we prove that when there is, initially, a unique most salient attribute, it deserves growing attention overtime in detriment of the remaining ones. As a result, individuals eventually interact only with others similar to them across this attribute and disagreement persists. It materializes in two groups of thinking defined according to this attribute.
    Keywords: disagreement, homophily, average-based updating
    JEL: D83 D85 Z13
    Date: 2017–01
  7. By: Davide Fiaschi; Elisa Giuliani; Nicola Salvati
    Abstract: In this paper, we develop a family of indexes to measure the social irresponsibility of firms. We define corporate social irresponsibility (CSIR) on the basis of firms' alleged involvement in human rights abuses. After a critical appraisal of the existing CSIR raw data and measures/indexes, we take a M-quantile regression approach to develop a family of CSIR indexes that overcome the limitations of existing measures. We apply our methodology to a sample of 380 large publicly-listed firms, observed over the period 2004-2012. Our analysis develops a family of CSIR indexes robust to firms' media exposure, size and industry specificities, and provides a measure of their accuracy. .
    Keywords: Corporate Social Irresponsibility (CSIR), M-quantile regression, CSIR index.
    JEL: C14 C21 O40 O50
    Date: 2016–01–01
  8. By: Levi Boxell; Matthew Gentzkow; Jesse M. Shapiro
    Abstract: We combine nine previously proposed measures to construct an index of political polarization among US adults. We find that the growth in polarization in recent years is largest for the demographic groups least likely to use the internet and social media. For example, our overall index and eight of the nine individual measures show greater increases for those older than 75 than for those aged 18–39. These facts argue against the hypothesis that the internet is a primary driver of rising political polarization.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2017–03

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