nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒10‒29
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Climate Risk, Cooperation, and the Co-Evolution of Culture and Institutions By Buggle, Johannes; Durante, Ruben
  2. On the Origins of Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Sibling Correlation By Lindquist, Matthew; Sol, Joeri; van Praag, C. Mirjam; Vladasel, Theodor
  3. Fairness and the unselfish demand for redistribution by taxpayers and welfare recipients By Sabatini, Fabio; Ventura, Marco; Yamamura, Eiji; Zamparelli, Luca
  4. Family firms and access to credit. Is family ownership beneficial? By Pierluigi Murro; Valentina Peruzzi
  5. Cheating in Academia: The Relevance of Social Factors By Alessandro Bucciol; Simona Cicognani; Natalia Montinari
  6. Group Influence in Sharing Experiments By Daniela Di Cagno; Werner Güth; Marcello Puca; Patrizia Sbriglia
  7. Should Immigrants Culturally Assimilate or Preserve Their Own Culture? Individual Beliefs and the Longevity of National Identity By Peter Grajzl; Jonathan Eastwood; Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl
  8. Gender Differences in the Development of Other-Regarding Preferences By John, Katrin; Thomsen, Stephan L.
  9. Economic Origins of Cultural Norms: The Case of Animal Husbandry and Bastardy By Eder, Christoph; Halla, Martin
  10. How Do Peers Influence BMI? Evidence from Randomly Assigned Classrooms in South Korea By Jaegeum Lim; Jonathan Meer
  11. Social Network Sustainability Metrics: A Study of Co-authoring Behaviors in the Social Sciences, Using 2008-2017 Scopus Data for Vietnam By Tung Manh Ho; Hong Kong Nguyen-To; Thu-Trang Vuong; Quan-Hoang Vuong

  1. By: Buggle, Johannes; Durante, Ruben
    Abstract: This research examines the historical relationship between economic risk and the evolution of social cooperation. We hypothesize that norms of generalized trust developed in pre-industrial times as a result of experiences of cooperation triggered by the need of subsistence farmers to cope with climatic risk. These norms persisted over time, even after climate had become largely unimportant for economic activity. We test this hypothesis for Europe combining high-resolution climate data for the period 1500-2000 with survey data at the sub-national level. We find that regions with higher inter-annual variability in precipitation and temperature display higher levels of trust. This effect is driven by variability in the growing season months, and by historical rather than recent variability. Regarding possible mechanisms, we find that regions with more variable climate were more closely connected to the Medieval trade network, indicating a higher propensity to engage in inter-community exchange. These regions were also more likely to adopt inclusive political institutions earlier on, and are characterized by a higher quality of local governments still today. Our findings suggest that, by favoring the emergence of mutually-reinforcing norms and institutions, exposure to environmental risk had a long-lasting impact on human cooperation.
    Keywords: Climate; Cooperation; Persistence; Political Institutions; Risk; Trust
    JEL: N53 O11 O13 Q54 Z10
    Date: 2017–10
  2. By: Lindquist, Matthew (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Sol, Joeri; van Praag, C. Mirjam; Vladasel, Theodor
    Abstract: We assess the broad importance of family and community background for entrepreneurship outcomes. We go beyond traditional, intergenerational associations by estimating sibling correlations in unincorporated and incorporated entrepreneurship using register data from Sweden. Sibling correlations range from 20% to 50%. They are consistently higher for more committed and incorporated entrepreneurship than for less committed or unincorporated entrepreneurship; they are also higher for brothers than sisters. We then assess what factors drive these correlations: parental entrepreneurship, neighborhoods, shared genes and financial resources help explain these high correlations, whereas immigration status, family structure and sibling peer effects have a limited contribution. The higher correlation for incorporated versus unincorporated entrepreneurship is explained mainly by the type of parental entrepreneurial engagement and financial resources, while the gap between brother and sister correlations in unincorporated entrepreneurship is largely driven by the geographic concentration of male dominated industries.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Family Background; Intergenerational Persistence; Neighborhood Effects; Occupational Choice; Sibling Correlations
    JEL: D13 J62 L26
    Date: 2017–10–17
  3. By: Sabatini, Fabio; Ventura, Marco; Yamamura, Eiji; Zamparelli, Luca
    Abstract: We illustrate how the desire to live in a fair society that rewards individual effort and hard work triggers an unselfish though rational demand for redistribution. This leads the well off to prefer higher taxes and the poor to reject extreme progressivity. We then provide evidence of these behaviors using a nationally representative survey from Italy. Our empirical analysis confirms that a stronger aversion to unfair distributive outcomes is associated with a higher support for redistribution by individuals with high income and to a lower demand for redistribution by those with low income.
    Keywords: fairness, income distribution, inequalities, taxation, Welfare, redistribution, free-riding, civic capital, social capital
    JEL: D63 H10 H50 H53 Z1
    Date: 2017–10–19
  4. By: Pierluigi Murro (LUMSA University); Valentina Peruzzi (Università Politecnica delle Marche)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of family ownership on credit rationing using a rich sample of Italian manufacturing firms. We find that family ownership increases the probability of credit rationing. Conflicts between large and minority shareholders, family firms’ lack of competencies and conservatism appear to be the main determinants of this result. By contrast, family owners’ long-termism, risk aversion, and relationship lending mitigate the adverse impact of family ownership on firms’ credit availability. Finally, we find that family businesses are more likely to be rationed in provinces with high level of social capital and judicial efficiency, suggesting that delegation problems are mitigated by personal relationships in areas where cooperation mechanisms are weaker.
    Keywords: Family firms, credit rationing, agency conflicts, relationship lending
    JEL: D22 G21 G32
    Date: 2017–10
  5. By: Alessandro Bucciol (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Simona Cicognani (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Natalia Montinari (University of Bologna)
    Abstract: We implemented an online anonymous survey targeted to current and former university students, where the interviewed are asked to indicate whether and to what extent they cheated during written exams. We want to learn if cheating is widespread, and if it correlates with social factors such as the level of trust in others, the beliefs about the peers’ dishonesty and perceived level of opportunism in the society. We find that 61% of the respondents report to have cheated once or more. Cheaters are more likely to report that their classmates and friends cheated, and that in general people can be trusted. In contrast, being aware of the sanction, earning top grades and thinking that people are willing to take advantage of others is negatively correlated with self-reported cheating. There is evidence of two different cheating styles: “social cheaters”, who self-report mostly that they have violated the rules interacting with others; “individualistic” cheaters, who self-report mostly that they have used prohibited materials. Only social cheaters seem affected by social factors: they exhibit higher levels of trust and lower levels of perceived opportunism compared to individualistic cheaters, while no differences between the two groups are found when looking at other dimensions.
    Keywords: Academic cheating, Honesty, Trust, Online survey
    JEL: I21 D01
    Date: 2017–10
  6. By: Daniela Di Cagno; Werner Güth; Marcello Puca; Patrizia Sbriglia
    Abstract: We experimentally study how group identity and social influence affect proposers and recipients in Ultimatum and Impunity Games. To induce group identity and social effects, we assign individuals to different color groups and inform them about the median choice of their own group. When testing the relevance of this social signal for intentions and decisions we distinguish uni- and bi-dimensional behavior, the latter to let individuals select on which rule of conduct of the others to condition own behavior. When disagreement and conflicting views are possible, coordinating with group behavior may be less important and individuals may prefer self-serving. The bi-dimensional design apparently allows for more variety: tracking both group medians, only one or none.Social influence significantly affects behavior in Ultimatum but has much weaker impact in Impunity experiments. Social information seems to act in two ways: as a coordination device and as a learning device. However, the marginal impact of the signal and the direction of its influence is strongly role dependent.
    Keywords: ultimatum Game, impunity game, social influence, group identity, fairness, experiments.
    JEL: C90 C91
    Date: 2017–10
  7. By: Peter Grajzl; Jonathan Eastwood; Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl
    Abstract: We develop and empirically test a theory concerning individual beliefs about whether immigrants should culturally assimilate into the host society or preserve their own cultural norms. We argue that when national identity is a source of intrinsic utility, the longevity of national identity influences a national identity’s perceived resilience to an ostensible immigrant threat and, thus, affects individuals’ beliefs about the need for immigrants’ cultural assimilation. Empirical evidence based on data from countries of wider Europe supports our theory. An expert survey-based measure of the longevity of national identity, first, exhibits a robustly negative effect on the strength of individual preferences in favor of immigrants’ cultural assimilation and, second, is an important contextual moderating variable that shapes the effect of individual-level characteristics on their beliefs. Thus, individual beliefs about the necessity of immigrants’ cultural assimilation versus accommodation of cultural diversity reflect a historically-rooted sense of national identity.
    Keywords: cultural assimilation, immigrants, individual beliefs, national identity, longevity
    JEL: Z13 J18 D72 P51
    Date: 2017
  8. By: John, Katrin (Leibniz University of Hannover); Thomsen, Stephan L. (Leibniz University of Hannover)
    Abstract: We use data from a gender-neutral dictator and public goods game setting to analyze differences in other-regarding preferences between boys and girls aged 10 to 17. The results indicate a higher mean of dictator giving, degree of egalitarian decisions and lower frequency of selfish decisions, free-riding and efficiency concerns for girls. Gender differences are already established at approximately age 10. They cannot be explained by gender-specific increases in other-regarding preferences, differences in dispositions or the impact of personality traits. We conclude that genes and early social learning are the sources of gender differences in other-regarding preferences.
    Keywords: gender, other-regarding preferences, personality traits, dictator game, public goods game
    JEL: C91 D03 J16
    Date: 2017–09
  9. By: Eder, Christoph; Halla, Martin
    Abstract: We explore the origins of the cultural norm regarding illegitimacy and test the hypothesis that traditional agricultural production structures influenced the historical illegitimacy ratio, and have a lasting effect until today. Based on data dating back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, we use exogenous variation in the local agricultural suitability to show that descendants from societies focusing on animal husbandry (and not crop farming) are today still more likely to have a non-marital birth.
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Jaegeum Lim; Jonathan Meer
    Abstract: Obesity among children is an important public health concern, and social networks may play a role in students' habits that increase the likelihood of being overweight. We examine data from South Korean middle schools, where students are randomly assigned to classrooms, and exploit the variation in peer body mass index. We use the number of peers' siblings as an instrument to account for endogeneity concerns and measurement error. Heavier peers increase the likelihood that a student is heavier; there is no spurious correlation for height, which is unlikely to have peer contagion. Public policy that targets obesity can have spillovers through social networks.
    JEL: I12 J13
    Date: 2017–10
  11. By: Tung Manh Ho; Hong Kong Nguyen-To; Thu-Trang Vuong; Quan-Hoang Vuong
    Abstract: The study examines the co-authoring behaviors of 412 Vietnamese social scientists over the 2008-2017 period via a new method – social network analysis – to determine if these researchers have formed sustainable scientific communities, using Scopus data. The dataset provides an insightful look into the predominant form of collaboration, i.e. co-authorship, within the Vietnamese social science research communities. Through basic network metrics such as density and clustering coefficient, the study hypothesizes that the socially sustainable research communities are those with low clustering and high density. As any scholar’s position in a network can be specified by three quantities: number of publications, connections, and years in research, the distance metrics from the most productive to the rest are computed and compared. The study hypothesizes that if the distance is too large; it reflects the socially unsustainable situation in the network. The results indicate that certain level of social unsustainability exists in social sciences groups in Vietnam. Though the results are only indicative, it has opened up a fertile space for future enquiry into this matter.
    Keywords: publishing behavior; co-authoring behavior; sustainable scientific communities; social sustainability distance; social network analysis
    JEL: D85 D91 Q01
    Date: 2017–10–25

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