Date: 26th February 2019, 4PM
Venue: HAS CSS RECENS, Meeting Room (T.1.40)
Address: H-1097 Budapest Tóth Kálmán street 4. T building 1st Floor Room 40.
Building solidarity from economic exchange: trust and support between collaboration and competition
Solidarity is all the more becoming a problematic issue in today's industrialized societies. This is especially relevant if one considers the increasing connectivity of individuals all over the world that overcomes traditional sources of social support. The increasing integration of regional markets opens up the opportunity for people to collaborate with other socially distant individuals. On the one hand, collaboration networks generate the opportunity for partners to develop support relationships that go beyond the scope of instrumental business-related ties. On the other hand, competition over most attractive partners can bring about segregated support networks and prevent low-skilled partners to access solidarity. In order to investigate this process, we tested possible mechanisms of formation of solidarity from economic exchanges on a group of independent professionals sharing a 'coworking' space. After an ethnographic preliminary study, network data of professional collaboration, trust, and social support expectations were collected. Our hypotheses were tested by fitting the data to a multivariate Exponential Random Graph Model. Solidarity emerged as a by-product of economic exchange among business partners as long as they were allowed to autonomously select each other for risky collaboration and develop trust relations. Then, the consequences of an uneven distribution of skills within a similar collaboration network were studied via computer simulations. In order to do it, we developed an Agent-Based Model based on a Stochastic Actor-Oriented Model representing the mechanisms observed in the empirical networks. The study suggested that competition over most attractive collaborators could undermine the emergence of a cohesive social support network and generate segregated patterns of solidarity. Furthermore, our study explored the possibility of using agent-based models to complement for the inner idiosyncrasy of case-base empirical network studies, as they allow to manipulate context-dependent conditions that are difficult to control for in empirical research.