nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒09‒19
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Measuring “group cohesion” to reveal the power of social relationships in team production By Simon Gaechter; Chris Starmer; Fabio Tufano
  2. Locus of Control and Prosocial Behavior By Mark A. Andor; James Cox; Andreas Gerster; Michael Price; Stephan Sommer; Lukas Tomberg
  3. The Interactions of Social Norms about Climate Change: Science, Institutions and Economics By Antonio Cabrales; Manu Garc\'ia; David Ramos Mu\~noz; Angel S\'anchez
  4. Does Voluntary Information Disclosure Lead to Less Cooperation than Mandatory Disclosure? Evidence from a Sequential Prisoner’s Dilemma Experiment By Georg Kirchsteiger; Tom Lenaerts; Remi Suchon
  5. Social cohesion and firms' access to finance in Africa By Yabibal Mulualem Walle
  6. Building Social Capital through Rural Women’s Groups: The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Oil Host Communities By Joseph I. Uduji; Elda N. Okolo-Obasi

  1. By: Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Chris Starmer (University of Nottingham); Fabio Tufano (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We introduce “group cohesion” to study the economic relevance of social relationships in team production. We operationalize measurement of group cohesion, adapting the “oneness scale” from psychology. A series of experiments, including a pre-registered replication, reveals strong positive associations between group cohesion and performance assessed in weak-link coordination games, with high-cohesion groups being very likely to achieve superior equilibria. In exploratory analysis, we identify beliefs rather than social preferences as the primary mechanism through which factors proxied by group cohesion influence group performance. Our evidence provides proof-of-concept for group cohesion as a useful tool for economic research and practice.
    Keywords: group cohesion; social relationships; team production
    Date: 2022–12
  2. By: Mark A. Andor; James Cox; Andreas Gerster; Michael Price; Stephan Sommer; Lukas Tomberg
    Abstract: We investigate how locus of control beliefs – the extent to which individuals attribute control over events in their life to themselves as opposed to outside factors – affect prosocial behavior and the private provision of public goods. We begin by developing a conceptual framework showing how locus of control beliefs serve as a weight placed on the returns from one’s own contributions (impure altruism) and others contributions (pure altruism). Using multiple data sets from Germany and the U.S., we show that individuals who relate consequences to their own behavior are more likely to contribute to climate change mitigation, to donate money and in-kind gifts to charitable causes, to share money with others, to cast a vote in parliamentary elections, and to donate blood. Our results provide comprehensive evidence that locus of control beliefs affect prosocial behavior.
    JEL: D03 D12 Q48 Q50
    Date: 2022–08
  3. By: Antonio Cabrales; Manu Garc\'ia; David Ramos Mu\~noz; Angel S\'anchez
    Abstract: We study the evolution of interest about climate change between different actors of the population, and how the interest of those actors affect one another. We first document the evolution individually, and then provide a model of cross influences between them, that we then estimate with a VAR. We find large swings over time of said interest for the general public by creating a Climate Change Index for Europe and the US (CCI) using news media mentions, and little interest among economists (measured by publications in top journals of the discipline). The general interest science journals and policymakers have a more steady interest, although policymakers get interested much later.
    Date: 2022–08
  4. By: Georg Kirchsteiger; Tom Lenaerts; Remi Suchon
    Abstract: In sequential social dilemmas with stranger matching, initiating cooperation is inherently risky for the first mover. The disclosure of the second mover’s past actions may be necessary to instigate cooperation. We experimentally compare the effect of mandatory and voluntary disclosure with non disclosure in a sequential prisoner’s dilemma situation. Our results confirm the positive effects of disclosure on cooperation. We also find that voluntary disclosure is as effective as mandatory one, which is surprising given the results of existing literature on this topic. With voluntarydisclosure, second movers with a good track record decided to disclose because they expect that not disclosing signals non-cooperativeness. First movers interpret nondisclosure correctly as a signal of non-cooperativeness. Therefore, they cooperate less than half as often when the second mover does not disclose.
    Date: 2022–08
  5. By: Yabibal Mulualem Walle
    Abstract: Social cohesion has recently gained increasing attention in academic and policy circles. Apart from being a necessary feature of stable societies per se, social cohesion is also a key factor for sustainable economic development. One potential means through which social cohesion could foster economic development is by enhancing financial development. In this paper, we examine whether social cohesion is significantly associated with firms' access to finance in Africa. To this end, we use a recently constructed dataset on social cohesion in Africa, which is based on the Afrobarometer survey and the Varieties of Democracy database. The dataset contains indices for the three pillars of social cohesion - trust, inclusive identity and cooperation for the common good. Combining this dataset with that of the World Bank Enterprise Surveys, we build a sample which covers more than 12,500 firms and 27 African countries. Our results show that all three components of social cohesion are positively associated with at least one measure of firms' access to external finance. In particular, trust - but not inclusive identity and cooperation for the common good - is significantly associated with the likelihood that firms have a checking or savings account, or are financially constrained. When we measure access to finance with respect to having a line of credit or a loan from a financial institution, all the three pillars of social cohesion, including inclusive identity and cooperation for the common good, are related to access to finance. The results are robust to addressing endogeneity concerns using a heteroskedasticity-based identification strategy. Overall, our results suggest that improving social cohesion (e.g. through social protection, education, strengthening civil society organisations) could do more than hold society together; it could also promote access to finance, growth of firms, and thus economic development and job creation.
    Keywords: access to finance,social cohesion,trust,cooperation for the common good,identity,Africa
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Joseph I. Uduji (University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria); Elda N. Okolo-Obasi (University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)
    Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives implemented by multinational oil companies (MOCs) in Nigeria. Its special focus is to investigate the impact of the global memorandum of understanding (GMoU) on closing the social capital, through enterprising rural women’s groups in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Design/methodology/approach – This paper adopted a survey research technique, aimed at gathering information from a representative sample of the population. Itwas essentially cross-sectional, describing and interpreting the current situation. A total of 800women respondents were sampled across the rural areas of the Niger Delta region. Findings – The results from the logistic regression model indicate that CSR of the MOCs using the GMoU model has recorded little but significant success in improving women’s participation in the socio-economic activities of the region. The results also demonstratethat women’s groups and other forms of collective actions can be effective in building social capital and addressing gender gaps in other areas as well, through reducing transactions cost, pooling risks, developing skills, and building confidence. Practical implications – The result suggests that building women’s social capital can be an effective way to improve information exchange and resource allocation, pool risks, and ensure that women’s voices are heard in decision-making at all levels. Additionally, it proposes that community-based organizations including cluster development boards (CDBs) and women’s groupscan be useful for generating social capital. Social implications – The result implies that women’s groups that serve as production cooperatives, savings associations, and marketing groupscan boost production and help women in maintaining control over the additional income they earn. It also indicates that achieving scale through pooling resources can help women in overcoming some of the constraints experiencedby individual farmers. Originality/value – This research contributes to the gender discourse in social capitalfrom a CSR perspective in developing countries and the rationale for host communities’ desires for social projects. It concludes that businessesmust assist in solving public-interest challenges.
    Keywords: Gender, social capital, corporate social responsibility, multinational oil companies, sub-Saharan Africa.
    Date: 2022–01

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