- Reciprocity revisited: Give and take in Dutch and immigrant families
- Journal of Comparative Family Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 39 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Classical theory suggests that "generalized reciprocity," giving without clear expectations of returns, is characteristic for exchange within the family. Modern theory assumes differences between Western, "individualistic" cultures, and non-Western, more "collectivistic" cultures, presumably leading to ethnic variation in the nature of reciprocity within the family. These assumptions are examined by using data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS; 2004). Patterns of reciprocity in intergenerational support exchange among three ethnic groups, "Mediterraneans," "Caribbeans," and native Dutch, (N= 3,520) are analyzed. Four varieties of reciprocity are distinguished: high exchangers (giving and receiving much), receivers (giving little, receiving much), givers (giving much, receiving little), and low exchangers (giving and receiving little). "Generalized reciprocity" proved not to be the prototype of support exchange; in fact, low exchange was the most common pattern. The similarities in reciprocity patterns between the three ethnic groups were greater than the differences; the Dutch were more often low exchangers than the other ethnic groups but after introducing the other independent variables this difference was no longer significant. Patterns of reciprocity were found to be affected by a combination of socio-structural, cultural and relational factors.
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