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Economics: An Emerging Small World?

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Author Info

  • Sanjeev Goyal

    ()
    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, and University of Essex)

  • Marco van der Leij

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Jose Luis Moraga

    ()
    (Groningen University)

Abstract

This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in the 'Journal of Political Economy' .This paper examines the small world hypothesis. The first part of the paper presents empirical evidence on the evolution of a particular world: the world of journal publishing economists during the period 1970-2000. We find that in the 1970's the world of economics was a collection of islands. Two decades later, in the 1990's the world of economics was much more integrated, with the largest island covering close to half of the population. At the same time, the distance between individuals on the largest island had fallen significantly. Thus we believe that economics is an emerging small world.An exploration of the micro aspects of the network yields three findings: one, the average number of co-authors is very small but increasing; two, the distribution of co-authors is very unequal; and three, there exist a number of `stars', individuals who have a large number of co-authors. Thus the economics world is a set of inter-connected stars.We take the view that individuals decide on whether to work alone or with others; this means that individual incentives should help us understand why the economics world has the structure it does. The second part of the paper develops a simple theoretical model of co-authorship. The main finding of the model is that in the presence of productivity differentials and a shortage of high productivity individuals, inter-connected stars will arise naturally in equilibrium.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 04-001/1.

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Date of creation: 05 Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20040001

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: small world; economics research; networks; coauthorship; hierarchy;

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References

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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Venkatesh Bala & Sanjeev Goyal, 2000. "A Noncooperative Model of Network Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1181-1230, September.
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  4. Sanjeev Goyal, 2003. "Learning in Networks: a survey," Economics Discussion Papers 563, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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  8. repec:att:wimass:9612 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996. "Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," Working papers 9612r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Glenn Ellison, 2002. "The Slowdown of the Economics Publishing Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 947-993, October.
  11. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Sharon M. Oster, 2002. "Tools or Toys? The Impact of High Technology on Scholarly Productivity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 539-555, October.
  12. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1998. "Financial Contagion Journal of Political Economy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-31, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  13. Glenn Ellison, 2000. "Evolving Standards for Academic Publishing: A q-r Theory," NBER Working Papers 7805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Rachel E. Kranton & Deborah F. Minehart, 2001. "A Theory of Buyer-Seller Networks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 485-508, June.
  15. John Hudson, 1996. "Trends in Multi-authored Papers in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 153-158, Summer.
  16. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2000. "Intellectual Collaboration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 632-661, June.
  17. Barabási, Albert-László & Albert, Réka & Jeong, Hawoong, 1999. "Mean-field theory for scale-free random networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 272(1), pages 173-187.
  18. Bala, V. & Goyal, S., 1995. "Learning from Neighbors," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9549-/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  19. McDowell, John M & Melvin, Michael, 1983. "The Determinants of Co-Authorship: An Analysis of the Economics Literature," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 155-60, February.
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