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Diffusion and contagion in networks with heterogeneous agents and homophily

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Author Info

  • JACKSON, Matthew O.

    (Stanford University, Santa Fe Institute and CIFAR)

  • LOPEZ-PINTADO, Dunia

    (Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain and Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

Abstract

We study how a behavior (an idea, buying a product, having a disease, adopting a cultural fad or a technology) spreads among agents in an a social network that exhibits segregation or homophily (the tendency of agents to associate with others similar to themselves). Individuals are distinguished by their types (e.g., race, gender, age, wealth, religion, profession, etc.) which, together with biased interaction patterns, induce heterogeneous rates of adoption. We identify the conditions under which a behavior diffuses and becomes persistent in the population. These conditions relate to the level of homophily in a society, the underlying proclivities of various types for adoption or infection, as well as how each type interacts with its own type. In particular, we show that homophily can facilitate diffusion from a small initial seed of adopters.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2012012.

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Date of creation: 05 Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2012012

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Keywords: diffusion; homophily; segregation; social networks;

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  1. Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal & Matthew O. Jackson & Fernando Vega-Redondo & Leeat Yariv, 2008. "Network Games," Economics Working Papers ECO2008/07, European University Institute.
    • Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal & Matthew O. Jackson & Fernando Vega-Redondo & Leeat Yariv, 2010. "Network Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 218-244.
  2. López-Pintado, Dunia, 2008. "Diffusion in complex social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 573-590, March.
  3. Dunia López-Pintado, 2006. "Contagion and coordination in random networks," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 371-381, October.
  4. Sergio Currarini & Paolo Pin & Matthew O. Jackson, 2007. "An Economic Model of Friendship: Homophily, Minorities and Segregation," Working Papers 2007_20, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  5. Jackson Matthew O. & Rogers Brian W., 2007. "Relating Network Structure to Diffusion Properties through Stochastic Dominance," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-16, February.
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