Social exchange is the theoretical approach most frequently invoked by survey methodologists when interpreting the decisions people make about whether or not to participate in surveys. In essence, social exchange theory holds that many interactions proceed from the assessment of costs versus benefits. Exchanges occur in purest form in economic transactions, in which it is fully realized that the exchange of goods or services for money or for barter is rational and voluntary, with the respective values for each party understood. Because money is so liquid, little social relationship is required for economic exchanges, and the individual is as often exchanging with the market as with other individuals. Social exchange theory widens the focus to a broad social realm, which includes intangibles such as maintenance ...
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