norm of reciprocity

(redirected from Reciprocity trap)

norm of reciprocity

the expectation that exists in many simple societies and also among kin and among friends in modern societies, that gifts or services must ultimately be reciprocated. Such exchanges are not strictly utilitarian and serve wider social functions and must be distinguished from more purely economically oriented exchange. See also GIFT EXCHANGE; compare EXCHANGE THEORY.
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Of course, there's a lot more work involved in having friends round and then there's the reciprocity trap with perpetual return invitations.