Making Bonds of Solidarity from Economic Exchange. A Review Essay


  • Federico Bianchi Department of Economics and Management, University of Brescia (Italy)



solidarity, cohesion, social exchange, economic exchange


This article surveys a field of empirical social research linking economic exchange relations to the generation of interpersonal bonds of solidarity. This issue is particularly interesting for both social sciences and current societies because of the increasing global integration of markets and spatial mobility. Experimental research in Social Exchange Theory has provided mixed evidence on how various structural properties of exchange relations generate solidarity. Findings suggest that risk is key to generate trust between exchange partners, which is linked to feelings of solidarity. This casts doubts on the positive effect of economic exchange on solidarity, as actual market-based transactions mainly rely on assurance structures to reduce risk and prevent opportunism. However, further developments suggest that solidarity can be indirectly generated by economic exchange ties framed by loose agreements. This opens up opportunities for new empirical research to study economic exchange and solidarity in actual social systems. Furthermore, negative consequences of the link between economic exchange and solidarity are discussed, such as centralization and segregation.


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How to Cite

Bianchi, F. (2020). Making Bonds of Solidarity from Economic Exchange. A Review Essay. Sociologica, 14(1), 207–225.