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Gift-giving and network structure in rural China: utilizing long-term spontaneous gift records.

Chen X - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: This paper first summarizes unique features of the gift record data that circumvent five prevailing sampling and measurement issues in the literature, and we discuss their advantages over existing studies at both the individual level and the dyadic link level using previous data sources.The pattern of gift-giving in major household social events and its recent escalation is analyzed.There are significantly positive correlations between gift network centrality and various forms of informal insurance.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Public Health, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Department of Economics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
The tradition of keeping written records of gift received during household ceremonies in many countries offers researchers an underutilized means of data collection for social network analysis. This paper first summarizes unique features of the gift record data that circumvent five prevailing sampling and measurement issues in the literature, and we discuss their advantages over existing studies at both the individual level and the dyadic link level using previous data sources. We then document our research project in rural China that implements a multiple wave census-type household survey and a long-term gift record collection. The pattern of gift-giving in major household social events and its recent escalation is analyzed. There are significantly positive correlations between gift network centrality and various forms of informal insurance. Finally, economic inequality and competitive marriage market are among the main demographic and socioeconomic determinants of the observed gift network structure.

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In-kind and Cash Gift Network in One of the Five Villages.Source: Author's social network data. Notes: (a) shows in-kind gift network, and (b) shows cash gift network.
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pone-0102104-g004: In-kind and Cash Gift Network in One of the Five Villages.Source: Author's social network data. Notes: (a) shows in-kind gift network, and (b) shows cash gift network.

Mentions: However, cash gifts are more intense relative to in-kind gifts (Figure 4). While evidence from the western society demonstrates that sending cash to friends is associated with stigma [32], the pattern in rural China is the opposite that people tend to measure closeness by the size of cash gifts, motivating more cash gifts to substitute in-kind gifts. The contrasting pattern for cash and in-kind gift is more salient for more open villages.


Gift-giving and network structure in rural China: utilizing long-term spontaneous gift records.

Chen X - PLoS ONE (2014)

In-kind and Cash Gift Network in One of the Five Villages.Source: Author's social network data. Notes: (a) shows in-kind gift network, and (b) shows cash gift network.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4128647&req=5

pone-0102104-g004: In-kind and Cash Gift Network in One of the Five Villages.Source: Author's social network data. Notes: (a) shows in-kind gift network, and (b) shows cash gift network.
Mentions: However, cash gifts are more intense relative to in-kind gifts (Figure 4). While evidence from the western society demonstrates that sending cash to friends is associated with stigma [32], the pattern in rural China is the opposite that people tend to measure closeness by the size of cash gifts, motivating more cash gifts to substitute in-kind gifts. The contrasting pattern for cash and in-kind gift is more salient for more open villages.

Bottom Line: This paper first summarizes unique features of the gift record data that circumvent five prevailing sampling and measurement issues in the literature, and we discuss their advantages over existing studies at both the individual level and the dyadic link level using previous data sources.The pattern of gift-giving in major household social events and its recent escalation is analyzed.There are significantly positive correlations between gift network centrality and various forms of informal insurance.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Public Health, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Department of Economics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
The tradition of keeping written records of gift received during household ceremonies in many countries offers researchers an underutilized means of data collection for social network analysis. This paper first summarizes unique features of the gift record data that circumvent five prevailing sampling and measurement issues in the literature, and we discuss their advantages over existing studies at both the individual level and the dyadic link level using previous data sources. We then document our research project in rural China that implements a multiple wave census-type household survey and a long-term gift record collection. The pattern of gift-giving in major household social events and its recent escalation is analyzed. There are significantly positive correlations between gift network centrality and various forms of informal insurance. Finally, economic inequality and competitive marriage market are among the main demographic and socioeconomic determinants of the observed gift network structure.

Show MeSH