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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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Gift Network Centrality by Occasion.Source: Author's social network data. Notes: Left Figures show normalized out-degree network centrality (influence), while right Figures show normalized in-degree network centrality (popularity).
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pone-0102104-g006: Gift Network Centrality by Occasion.Source: Author's social network data. Notes: Left Figures show normalized out-degree network centrality (influence), while right Figures show normalized in-degree network centrality (popularity).

Mentions: First, male wedding is one of the most publicly participated social occasions. The size of wedding ceremonies signals wealth to fellow residents. However, when females get married, only closest relatives, friends and neighbors attend. Brides' families have little motive to show wealth. The contrasting pattern between female and male wedding networks (Figure 5a versus Figure 5b) illustrates that the centralities for male wedding networks are smaller than female wedding (Figure 6a), meaning that people more widely exchange gifts during male weddings. One main reason might be that unbalanced sex ratio triggers marriage market competition favoring brides. Groom's families have to throw bigger parties and invite more guests to signal to bride's families [5]. Another point might be that the patrilineal society with son preference makes wedding ceremony mainly an event for grooms' families with the purpose of extending network and achieving higher social status [36].


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

Chen X - PLoS ONE (2014)

Gift Network Centrality by Occasion.Source: Author's social network data. Notes: Left Figures show normalized out-degree network centrality (influence), while right Figures show normalized in-degree network centrality (popularity).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0102104-g006: Gift Network Centrality by Occasion.Source: Author's social network data. Notes: Left Figures show normalized out-degree network centrality (influence), while right Figures show normalized in-degree network centrality (popularity).
Mentions: First, male wedding is one of the most publicly participated social occasions. The size of wedding ceremonies signals wealth to fellow residents. However, when females get married, only closest relatives, friends and neighbors attend. Brides' families have little motive to show wealth. The contrasting pattern between female and male wedding networks (Figure 5a versus Figure 5b) illustrates that the centralities for male wedding networks are smaller than female wedding (Figure 6a), meaning that people more widely exchange gifts during male weddings. One main reason might be that unbalanced sex ratio triggers marriage market competition favoring brides. Groom's families have to throw bigger parties and invite more guests to signal to bride's families [5]. Another point might be that the patrilineal society with son preference makes wedding ceremony mainly an event for grooms' families with the purpose of extending network and achieving higher social status [36].

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