In this dissertation, we attempted to contribute to the discussion about the link between the economic and the social. More specifically, we addressed the debate on the consequences of economically-oriented interaction on social relations. Sociological studies have mostly focused on understanding the opposite direction, i.e., the effect of social relations on economic outcomes. Conversely, our work was motivated by the idea that the consequences of the economic on the social is crucial for social sciences and society in general. First, we reviewed the literature on solidarity and exchange relations in sociology and the behavioural sciences. The chapter aimed to elaborate a theoretical framework and working hypotheses for the following chapters. We proposed a definition of solidarity at the behavioural level and various empirical contributions have been examined. Next, we conducted an empirical study on the link between professional collaboration and social support relations. In this work, certain hypotheses were tested on a group of independent professionals sharing a ’coworking’ space. Here, we found that solidarity can emerge as a by-product of economic exchange among strangers if they are allowed to select each other for collaboration and develop trust relations. The following chapter presents an extensive literature review of the use of Agent-Based Models (ABM) for sociological research. Given the key role of this methodology in this dissertation, the chapter aims to provide a comprehensive account of the contributions to sociology given by applications of ABM computer simulations. Moreover, a classification of these contributions is proposed according to the various methodological approaches to ABM in social research. The aim of the chapter is to review ABM as a possible means to overcome some limitations of the study presented before. Then, the final study applies computer simulation to analyze cohesion and integration of a social support network from economic exchange. In this chapter, an ABM of the mechanisms observed in the previous empirical study is presented. The model is used to simulate the effect of competition and resource distribution on social support networks. The aim of this work is to explore the effects of different environmental conditions and overcome the context-specific properties of empirical data. We argue that competition over most attractive collaborators can undermine the emergence of a cohesive social support network. Yet, this detrimental effect can be avoided if we assume that poor-resource actors are more eager to ask others for support, therefore generating a cohesive and more integrated social support network. Finally, we drew some conclusions in the last chapter.

THE SOCIAL FROM THE ECONOMIC: THE EMERGENCE OF SOLIDARITY WITHIN NETWORKS OF ECONOMIC EXCHANGE / F. Bianchi ; tutor: F. Squazzoni; coordinatore: F. Squazzoni. - : . UNIVERSITA' DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO, 2017 May 05. ((29. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2016. [10.13130/bianchi-federico_phd2017-05-05].

THE SOCIAL FROM THE ECONOMIC: THE EMERGENCE OF SOLIDARITY WITHIN NETWORKS OF ECONOMIC EXCHANGE

F. Bianchi
2017

Abstract

In this dissertation, we attempted to contribute to the discussion about the link between the economic and the social. More specifically, we addressed the debate on the consequences of economically-oriented interaction on social relations. Sociological studies have mostly focused on understanding the opposite direction, i.e., the effect of social relations on economic outcomes. Conversely, our work was motivated by the idea that the consequences of the economic on the social is crucial for social sciences and society in general. First, we reviewed the literature on solidarity and exchange relations in sociology and the behavioural sciences. The chapter aimed to elaborate a theoretical framework and working hypotheses for the following chapters. We proposed a definition of solidarity at the behavioural level and various empirical contributions have been examined. Next, we conducted an empirical study on the link between professional collaboration and social support relations. In this work, certain hypotheses were tested on a group of independent professionals sharing a ’coworking’ space. Here, we found that solidarity can emerge as a by-product of economic exchange among strangers if they are allowed to select each other for collaboration and develop trust relations. The following chapter presents an extensive literature review of the use of Agent-Based Models (ABM) for sociological research. Given the key role of this methodology in this dissertation, the chapter aims to provide a comprehensive account of the contributions to sociology given by applications of ABM computer simulations. Moreover, a classification of these contributions is proposed according to the various methodological approaches to ABM in social research. The aim of the chapter is to review ABM as a possible means to overcome some limitations of the study presented before. Then, the final study applies computer simulation to analyze cohesion and integration of a social support network from economic exchange. In this chapter, an ABM of the mechanisms observed in the previous empirical study is presented. The model is used to simulate the effect of competition and resource distribution on social support networks. The aim of this work is to explore the effects of different environmental conditions and overcome the context-specific properties of empirical data. We argue that competition over most attractive collaborators can undermine the emergence of a cohesive social support network. Yet, this detrimental effect can be avoided if we assume that poor-resource actors are more eager to ask others for support, therefore generating a cohesive and more integrated social support network. Finally, we drew some conclusions in the last chapter.
SQUAZZONI, FLAMINIO
solidarity; social support; economic exchange; collaboration; trust; agent-based models; social simulation; social network analysis; exponential random graph models
Settore SPS/09 - Sociologia dei Processi economici e del Lavoro
Settore SPS/07 - Sociologia Generale
Settore IUS/07 - Diritto del Lavoro
Settore SECS-P/07 - Economia Aziendale
Settore SECS-P/10 - Organizzazione Aziendale
Settore SECS-S/04 - Demografia
Settore M-PSI/06 - Psicologia del Lavoro e delle Organizzazioni
Federico Bianchi and Flaminio Squazzoni (2015) “Agent-Based Models in Sociology”, Wiley Interdisciplinary Research: Computational Statistics, 7: 284–306, doi: 10.1002/wics.1356
THE SOCIAL FROM THE ECONOMIC: THE EMERGENCE OF SOLIDARITY WITHIN NETWORKS OF ECONOMIC EXCHANGE / F. Bianchi ; tutor: F. Squazzoni; coordinatore: F. Squazzoni. - : . UNIVERSITA' DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO, 2017 May 05. ((29. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2016. [10.13130/bianchi-federico_phd2017-05-05].
Doctoral Thesis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/491473
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