Environmental Policy Frontiers: Delia Baldassarri

Cooperative Networks: Altruism, Group Solidarity, and Reciprocity in Ugandan Producer Organizations

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Oct 15, 2012
from 12:10 PM to 01:00 PM



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Repeated interaction and social networks are commonly considered a viable solutions to collective action problems. However, there is little empirical knowledge of the dispositional mechanisms that trigger cooperation among interconnected actors. In this paper Delia Baldassarri distinguishes between four different mechanisms, i.e., generalized altruism, group solidarity, reciprocity, and the threat of sanctioning, and tests which of them bring about cooperation in the context of Ugandan producer organizations. Using a methodological framework that combines “lab in the field” experiments with survey interviews and complete social networks data, this paper goes beyond the assessment of a relationship between social networks and collective outcomes to study the dispositional mechanisms that are at the basis of cooperative behavior. Baldassarri first establishes a positive relationship between network structure and the propensity to cooperate, and then uses individuals behavior in dictator and public goods games to test different dispositional mechanisms that might account for the relationship between social networks and cooperation. Results show that cooperation is not induced by other-regarding preferences like altruism or group solidarity. Rather, repeated interaction favors the development of mechanisms of reciprocity.

D. BaldassarriDelia Baldassarri is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at New York University, and Affiliated Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and the Stern Business School. She previously taught a Princeton University and holds a Ph.D in Sociology from Columbia University, and from the University of Trento, Italy.

Delia Baldassarri's research interests are in the fields of political sociology, economic sociology, and methodology of social research, with a focus on social networks and influence dynamics, collective action, cooperation and economic development, human decision-making, public opinion and political behavior, and social integration. Her current research projects include a study of the role of social and spatial networks on cooperation and economic development in rural Uganda, a research on public opinion polarization in the USA, and formal analysis of social networks, group formation, and the emergence of status hierarchies. She is the author of The Simple Art of Voting (OUP 2012) and has published several articles in leading journals, such as the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Political Science, and PNAS.

Lunch will be provided.  Please register for this talk by October 8th. Please RSVP to Hilary Mroczka.

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University of California, Davis
360 Shields Library
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Davis, CA 95616


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