Reciprocated Versus Unreciprocated Sharing in Social Networks

Publication Date:
Jan 2011
Project Programs:
Behavioral Economics

We recognize that some sharing relationships in social networks are reciprocated (undirected), while others are unreciprocated (directed). We find that in unreciprocated relationships transfers are likely to flow from more to less wealthy households, while reciprocated risk-sharing relationships are more likely between wealthier households. We also explore predictions from the theoretical literature on networks which finds that directed transfer networks should exhibit high levels of support while networks with one-way flows of benefits should exhibit star-like characteristics. These two predictions are borne out when looking at the network architecture of the reciprocated and unreciprocated networks respectively.


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