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ResFron ESLS 2018 - Federico Bianchi -19/03/2018

Seminar
Collaboration, trust and support within exchange networks: integrating network analysis and ABM simulation

Federico Bianchi (University of Brescia)

19 March 2018, h. 11.00 - 13.00
Seminar Room (via Conservatorio side)
Department of Social and Political Sciences
via Conservatorio 7 - Milan

Abstract

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, we surveyed network data of professional collaboration, trust, friendship, previous acquaintance, and social support expectations. We then tested our hypotheses by fitting the data to a multivariate Exponential Random Graph Model (ERGM). We found that solidarity can emerge as a by-product of economic exchange among business partners if they are allowed to autonomously select each other for risky collaboration and develop trust relations. Then, we studied the consequences of an uneven distribution of skills within a similar collaboration network on the emergent solidarity via computer simulations. In order to do it, we developed an Agent-Based Model (ABM) representing the mechanisms observed in the empirical networks. We argue that competition over most attractive collaborators can undermine the emergence of a cohesive social support network and generate segregated patterns of solidarity. The talk will mainly focus on methodological aspects related to research design, social network data collection and inferential analysis, and virtual scenario manipulation through computer simulations with ABMs.

This seminar is part of the ResFron ESLS Cycle of seminars - 2018 Edition

 

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