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Building Up Social Capital In A Changing World

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Author Info

  • Fernando Vega Redondo

    (Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas)

Abstract

This paper models the dynamic process through which a large society may succeed in building up its "social capital" by establishing a stable and dense pattern of interaction among its members. In the model, agents interact according to a collection of (idyosincratic) infinitely repeated Prisoner's Dilemma played on the existing social network. This network not only specifies the playing partners but, crucially, also determines how relevant strategic information diffuses or new cooperation opportunities are found. Over time, the underlying payoffs randomly change, i.e. display some "volatility". In response to it, agents react by creating new links and removing others. This combines into a complex but ergodic dynamic process, whose analysis is undertaken in different ways. First, we rely on its ergodicity to "compute" numerically its long-run regularities. Second, we use mean-field approximations to derive analytical results. Both routes are found in accord and also complementary. The long-run dynamics of the process sharply depends on environmental volatility, displaying the following features: (a) Only if volatility is not too high can the society sustain a dense social network and thus attain a large average payoff. (b) The social architecture endogenously responds to increased volatility by becoming more cohesive. (c) Network-based strategic effects are an essential buffer that preclude the abrupt collapse of the social network in the face of growing volatility. These conclusions are largely in tune with the points stressed in the social-capital literature.

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File URL: http://www.ivie.es/downloads/docs/wpasad/wpasad-2002-26.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) in its series Working Papers. Serie AD with number 2002-26.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by Ivie
Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2002-26

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Related research

Keywords: social capital; volatility.;

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References

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  1. Ellison, Glenn, 1994. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 567-88, July.
  2. Durlauf,S.N., 1999. "The case "against" social capital," Working papers 29, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391, David K. Levine.
  4. Kandori, Michihiro, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80, January.
  5. John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 1999. "Interfirm Relationships And Informal Credit In Vietnam," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1285-1320, November.
  6. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1986. "Finite automata play the repeated prisoner's dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 83-96, June.
  7. Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2006. "Building up social capital in a changing world," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2305-2338, November.
  8. Matthew Haag & Roger Lagunoff, 1999. "Social Norms, Local Interaction, and Neighborhood Planning," Game Theory and Information 9907004, EconWPA.
  9. James E. Rauch, 2001. "Business and Social Networks in International Trade," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1177-1203, December.
  10. Kandori, M. & Mailath, G.J., 1991. "Learning, Mutation, And Long Run Equilibria In Games," Papers 71, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  11. De Weerdt, Joachim, 2002. "Risk-Sharing and Endogenous Network Formation," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  12. Matthew O. Jackson & Alison Watts, 2000. "On the Formation of Interaction Networks in Social Coordination Games," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0778, Econometric Society.
  13. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  14. Neyman, Abraham, 1985. "Bounded complexity justifies cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 227-229.
  15. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1990. "Multimarket Contact and Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  16. Goyal, Sanjeev & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2005. "Network formation and social coordination," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 178-207, February.
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