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On the Nature, Modeling, and Neural Bases of Social Ties

  • Ridderinkhof, Richard
  • Stallen, Mirre
  • van Winden, Frans A.A.M.

This paper addresses the nature, formalization, and neural bases of (affective) social ties and discusses the relevance of ties for health economics. A social tie is defined as an affective weight attached by an individual to the well-being of another individual (‘utility interdependence’). Ties can be positive or negative, and symmetric or asymmetric between individuals. Characteristic of a social tie, as conceived of here, is that it develops over time under the influence of interaction, in contrast with a trait like altruism. Moreover, a tie is not related to strategic behavior such as reputation formation but seen as generated by affective responses. A formalization is presented together with some supportive evidence from behavioral experiments. This is followed by a discussion of related psychological constructs and the presentation of suggestive neural findings, based on the existing literature. We conclude with some suggestions for future research.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6950.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6950
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