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Workings of the Melting Pot: Social Networks and the Evolution of Population Attributes

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  • Jan K. Brueckner
  • Oleg Smirnov

Abstract

This paper links the two nascent economic literatures on social networks and cultural assimilation by investigating the evolution of population attributes in a simple model where agents are influenced by their acquaintances. The main conclusion of the analysis is that attributes converge to a melting-pot equilibrium, where everyone is identical, provided the social network exhibits a sufficient degree of interconnectedness. When the model is extended to allow an expanding acquaintance set, convergence is guaranteed provided a weaker interconnectedness condition is satisfied, and convergence is rapid. If the intensity of interactions with acquaintances becomes endogenous, convergence (when it occurs) is slowed when agents prefer to interact with people like themselves and hastened when interaction with dissimilar agents is preferred.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2004/wp-cesifo-2004-10/cesifo1_wp1320.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1320.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1320

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Keywords: melting pot; social networks; cultural assimilation; population attributes;

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References

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  1. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
  2. Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 1995. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Discussion Papers 1098R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot : Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," DELTA Working Papers 1999-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Ballester, Coralio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2004. "Who's Who in Crime Network. Wanted the Key Player," Working Paper Series 617, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2004. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Development Working Papers 193, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  6. Sanjeev Goyal, 2003. "Learning in Networks: a survey," Economics Discussion Papers 563, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Panebianco, Fabrizio, 2014. "Socialization networks and the transmission of interethnic attitudes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 583-610.
  2. Federico Echenique & Roland G. Fryer Jr., 2005. "On the Measurement of Segregation," Labor and Demography 0503006, EconWPA.
  3. Michael M. Pichler, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Formation of Preferences," Working Papers 431, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  4. Fabrizio Panebianco, 2009. "“Driving While Black”: A Theory for Interethnic Integration and Evolution of Prejudice," Working Papers 2009_10, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  5. Fryer, Roland & Echenique, Federico, 2007. "A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions," Scholarly Articles 2958220, Harvard University Department of Economics.

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