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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

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  • Wolfram Elsner
  • Henning Schwardt

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfram Elsner & Henning Schwardt, 2015. "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," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 69-86, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:44:y:2015:i:1:p:69-86
    DOI: 10.1080/07360932.2014.980751
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    1. Elsner, Wolfram & Heinrich, Torsten & Schwardt, Henning, 2014. "The Microeconomics of Complex Economies," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 1, number 9780124115859.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elsner, Wolfram, 2015. "Policy Implications of Economic Complexity and Complexity Economics," MPRA Paper 63252, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Gao, Lin, 2016. "Trust and Performance: Exploring Socio-Economic Mechanisms in the “Deep” Network Structure with Agent-Based Modeling," MPRA Paper 75214, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Stuart Holland & Andrew Black, 2018. "Cherchez la Firme: Redressing the Missing – Meso – Middle in Mainstream Economics," Economic Thought, World Economics Association, vol. 7(2), pages 15-53, November.
    4. Gao, Lin, 2017. "Between Trust and Performance: Exploring Socio-Economic Mechanisms on Directed Weighted Regular Ring with Agent-Based Modeling," MPRA Paper 78428, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Gao, Lin, 2017. "What Affects General Trust? A Perspective from Institutional Economics and Empirical Evidence from China," MPRA Paper 79948, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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