Social Capital and Social Quilts: Network Patterns of Favor Exchange

43 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2010 Last revised: 3 Jan 2013

Matthew O. Jackson

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

Tomás Rodríguez Barraquer

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Xu Tan

University of Washington - Economics

Date Written: August 7, 2011

Abstract

We examine the informal exchange of favors in societies such that any two individuals interact too infrequently to sustain exchange, but such that the social pressure of the possible loss of multiple relationships can sustain exchange. Patterns of exchange that are locally enforceable and renegotiation-proof necessitate that all links are "supported": any two individuals exchanging favors have a common friend. In symmetric settings, such robust networks are "social quilts": tree-like unions of completely connected subnetworks. Examining favor exchange networks in 75 villages in rural India, we find high levels of support and identify characteristics that correlate with support.

Keywords: Social Networks, social capital, favor exchange, support, social quilts, renegotiation-proof

JEL Classification: D85, C72, L14, Z13, O12

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Matthew O. and Rodríguez Barraquer, Tomás and Tan, Xu, Social Capital and Social Quilts: Network Patterns of Favor Exchange (August 7, 2011). American Economic Review, 2012, 102(5): 1857-97.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1657130

Matthew O. Jackson (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
1-650-723-3544 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jacksonm

Santa Fe Institute

1399 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501
United States

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) ( email )

180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Tomás Rodríguez Barraquer

Autonomous University of Barcelona ( email )

Plaça Cívica
Cerdañola del Valles
Cerdanyola del Vallès, BARCELONA 08193
Spain

Xu Tan

University of Washington - Economics ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

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