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Strong Ties in a Small World


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  • Marco van der Leij

    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Sanjeev Goyal

    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, and University of Essex)


In this paper we test the celebrated `Strength of weak ties' theory of Granovetter (1973). We test two hypotheses on the network structure in a data set of collaborating economists. While we find support for the hypothesis of transitivity of strong ties, we reject the hypothesis that weak ties reduce distance more than strong ties do. We relate this surprising result to two different views of society. Whereas the classical view has been that society consists of different communities with strong ties within communities and weak ties between, the community of economic researchers has an interlinked star structure with strong ties between the stars. In such a world, strong ties are more important than weak ties.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 06-008/1.

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Date of creation: 10 Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20060008

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Keywords: network structure; social network; social capital; economic sociology; coauthorship; research; collaboration;

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  1. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco J. van der Leij & Jos� Luis Moraga-Gonzalez, 2006. "Economics: An Emerging Small World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 403-432, April.
  2. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers, UCLA Department of Economics 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
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