Abstract/Details

A sociological analysis of generalized information exchange


2005 2005

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation examines how generalized exchange systems emerge when information, as the object of exchange, produces a collective good. In these generalized information exchange systems, individuals contribute to a collective good (pool of information), and the rewards that an actor receives come from this collective good. Thus, these exchange systems are also analogous to many public goods or collective action problems. Because it is rational to free ride by receiving information (or information goods) from the public pool of information while not contributing to it, generalized information exchange systems require individuals to overcome a social dilemma. I develop a theoretical argument that specifies how social psychological processes act as selective incentives that increase individual contributions to a public pool of information. When the costs associated with contributing information are small, social psychological factors such as the popularity of one's own information and the normative obligation associated with observing cooperative behavior can have a relatively profound effect on cooperation. I conducted several experiments requiring subjects to participate in a computer-based exchange system that manipulated either the popularity of a subject's contributions or the observed cooperation in the system. The results of these experiments demonstrate that social psychological selective incentives significantly encourage cooperation in generalized information exchange systems. That is, individuals are more likely to cooperate (i.e., share information) in the presence of these selective incentives. Increased cooperation occurs even though these incentives offer no direct economic benefit to the participants.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Social research;
Information systems
Classification
0344: Social research
0723: Information systems
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Digital exchange; Generalized exchange; Information exchange; Peer-to-peer
Title
A sociological analysis of generalized information exchange
Author
Cheshire, Coye Vernon
Number of pages
145
Publication year
2005
Degree date
2005
School code
0212
Source
DAI-A 66/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780542086649, 0542086646
Advisor
Cook, Karen S.
University/institution
Stanford University
University location
United States -- California
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3171784
ProQuest document ID
305437473
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/305437473
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