Knowledge sharing and the dynamics of social capital
Mutual aid often entails the sharing of knowledge. We investigate how, in turn, knowledge sharing affects the long-run dynamics of mutual aid. In our economy, agents with specific knowledge are “held up” by their principals. Inside communities, agents aid each other by sharing their specific knowledge. This process generates a new type of knowledge which exacerbates the specificity of the existing types and induces more agents to engage in mutual aid. However, since the knowledge generated is shared, it progressively renders agents inside communities more flexible and, thus, less dependent on mutual aid. We characterize conditions under which in the long-run mutual aid spreads or is abandoned.
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