Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

David Willer


This dissertation integrates Network Exchange Theory (NET) with Social Value Orientations (SVO) literature. Previous SVO research has consistently found strong differences between prosocial and proself actors in social dilemmas and similar settings. That research has not, however, examined the behavior of actors engaging in negotiated exchange. Willer, Gladstone, and Berigan (2013) derived metric predictions for embedding actors of differing social values within exchange structures. I followed their work by testing these predictions in laboratory experiments using three types of exchange structures. While the predictions anticipated strong differences in earnings between orientation types, the results suggested otherwise. The earnings of prosocials and proselfs were instead generally indistinguishable. A second experiment placed actors with differing social values in exchange structures that allowed for coalition formation; here, too, there were greater similarities than differences between SVO types. Why do the findings from these experiments contradict the extensive body of research on social values which has found strong differences between SVO types? Why was NET, which also has a long history of supported predictions, not able to accurately anticipate the behavior of actors with social values? My goals in this dissertation are to examine the potential explanations for these findings and provide suggestions for further research which would explore additional conditions under which prosocials and proselfs will act in a similar, rather than different, manner. I argue that social structures override individual differences.

Included in

Sociology Commons