Exchange and the Creation of Trust and Solidarity across Cultures

Harkness, S. K., Cheshire, C., Cook, K. S., Stoica, C., & State, B. (2022). Exchange and the Creation of Trust and Solidarity across Cultures. Social Psychology Quarterly, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/01902725221120806


The emergence of trust and solidarity is arguably foundational for economic development and social order. Yet many studies, often survey-based, document large disparities in general trust and social cohesion between countries. Can mutual trust and solidarity arise between people even in areas of low general trust, or do national cultural contexts block such connections? We report an experimental investigation of the dynamic between national environments and local social interactions, specifically those embedded in social exchange. Results of our experiments conducted in the United States and Romania, societies marked by relatively high and low general trust, respectively, show that while national context impacts the level of relational trust formed within dyads, only this emergent relational trust affects dyadic solidarity in both societies. Importantly, burgeoning solidarity has persistent consequences for future exchanges and subsequent solidarity, thus experimentally demonstrating critical linkages between macro- and micro-level precursors to social order.


Last updated:

October 3, 2022