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From Emergent Cooperation to Contextual Trust, and to General Trust: Overlapping Meso-Sized Interaction Arenas and Cooperation Platforms as a Foundation of Pro-Social Behavior

Listed author(s):
  • Wolfram Elsner
  • Henning Schwardt

We identify and elaborate some critical factors and mechanisms that foster the emergence of cooperative behavioral patterns. Through institutionalization, which solves social dilemmas through habituation, these factors and mechanisms provide the foundation of contingent cooperation and contextual trust in specific interaction 'arenas' and 'meso'-sized 'platforms' (and related carrier groups) in these. This, then, may in turn support the emergence of general trust in the whole population, i.e., across all specific arenas and platforms. The emergence of institutions of cooperation may gain traction more easily in smaller arenas. This, and the transfer, spillover, or generalization to other arenas and platforms, is by no means determined, and the analytical foundation we offer permits to account for the different levels of cooperation, general trust, and socioeconomic performance observable in real-world economies (varieties of capitalisms). Directions of future research, as well as a policy focus, are provided as well.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Forum for Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 44 (2015)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 69-86

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Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:44:y:2015:i:1:p:69-86
DOI: 10.1080/07360932.2014.980751
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