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Inequality and Network Structure

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  • Iyengar, G.
  • Kets, W.
  • Sethi, R.
  • Bowles, S.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper explores the manner in which the structure of a social network constrains the level of inequality that can be sustained among its members. We assume that any distribution of value across the network must be stable with respect to coalitional deviations, and that players can form a deviating coalition only if they constitute a clique in the network. We show that if the network is bipartite, there is a unique stable payoff distribution that is maximally unequal in that it does not Lorenz dominate any other stable distribution. We obtain a complete ordering of the class of bipartite networks and show that those with larger maximum independent sets can sustain greater levels of inequality. The intuition behind this result is that networks with larger maximum independent sets are more sparse and hence offer fewer opportunities for coalitional deviations. We also demonstrate that standard centrality measures do not consistently predict inequality. We extend our framework by allowing a group of players to deviate if they are all within distance k of each other, and show that the ranking of networks by the extent of extremal inequality is not invariant in k.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2008-76.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:200876

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

Related research

Keywords: inequality; networks; coalitional deviations; power; centrality;

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References

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  1. Hojman, Daniel A. & Szeidl, Adam, 2008. "Core and periphery in networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 295-309, March.
  2. Bloch, Francis & Genicot, Garance & Ray, Debraj, 2008. "Informal insurance in social networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 36-58, November.
  3. Kalai, Ehud & Postlewaite, Andrew & Roberts, John, 1978. "Barriers to trade and disadvantageous middlemen: Nonmonotonicity of the core," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 200-209, October.
  4. Iyengar, G. & Kets, W. & Sethi, R. & Bowles, S., 2008. "Inequality and Network Structure," Discussion Paper 2008-76, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Dutta, Bhaskar & Ray, Debraj, 1989. "A Concept of Egalitarianism under Participation Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 615-35, May.
  6. Bramoulle, Yann & Kranton, Rachel, 2007. "Public goods in networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 478-494, July.
  7. Jackson, Matthew O. & Wolinsky, Asher, 1996. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 44-74, October.
  8. Goyal, Sanjeev & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2007. "Structural holes in social networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 460-492, November.
  9. Mamoru Kaneko & Myrna Holtz Wooders, 1982. "Cores of Partitioning Games," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 620, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Gabrielle Demange, 2004. "On group stability in hierarchies and networks," Post-Print halshs-00581662, HAL.
  11. van den Nouweland, Anne & Borm, Peter, 1991. "On the Convexity of Communication Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 421-30.
  12. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2001. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 1-4, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Iyengar, G. & Kets, W. & Sethi, R. & Bowles, S., 2008. "Inequality and Network Structure," Discussion Paper 2008-76, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Marianna Belloc & Samuel Bowles, 2013. "The Persistence of Inferior Cultural-Institutional Conventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 93-98, May.
  3. Vincent Iehlé, 2014. "The lattice structure of the S-Lorenz core," Working Papers halshs-00846826, HAL.
  4. Marianna Belloc & Samuel Bowles, 2012. "The persistence of inferior cultural-institutional conventions," Working Papers 157, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
  5. Newton, Jonathan, 2012. "Coalitional stochastic stability," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 842-854.

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