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In Search of Stars: Network Formation among Heterogeneous Agents

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  • Aljaž Ule

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Jacob K. Goeree

    (California Institute of Technology)

  • Arno Riedl

    (University of Maastricht)

Abstract

This paper reports results from a laboratory experiment on network formation among heterogeneous agents. The experimental design extends the Bala-Goyal (2000) model of network formation with decay and two-way flow of benefits by allowing for agents with lower linking costs or higher benefits to others. Furthermore, agents’ types may be common knowledge or private information. In all treatments, the (efficient) equilibrium network has a “star” structure. With homogeneous agents, equilibrium predictions fail completely. In contrast, with heterogeneous agents stars frequently occur, often with the high-value or low-cost agent in the center. Stars are not born but rather develop: with a high-value agent, the network’s centrality, stability, and efficiency all increase over time. Probit estimations based on best-response behaviour and other-regarding preferences are used to analyze individual linking behavior. Our results suggest that heterogeneity is a major determinant for the predominance of star-like structures in real-life social networks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2007.65.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2007.65

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Keywords: Network Formation; Experiment; Heterogeneity; Private Information;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Kirchsteiger, Georg & Mantovani, Marco & Mauleon, Ana & Vannetelbosch, Vincent, 2011. "Myopic or Farsighted? An Experiment on Network Formation," CEPR Discussion Papers 8263, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2010. "On inequity aversion: A reply to Binmore and Shaked," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 101-108, January.
  3. Harmsen-van Hout, Marjolein J.W. & Dellaert, Benedict G.C. & Herings, P. Jean-Jacques, 2008. "Behavorial Effects in Individual Decisions of Network Formation," Research Memorandum 019, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  4. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Weitzel, Utz, 2008. "Network Structure and Strategic Investments: An Experimental Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 6855, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Doğan, Gönül & van Assen, Marcel & Potters, Jan, 2013. "The effect of link costs on simple buyer–seller networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 229-246.
  6. Rong Rong & Daniel Houser, 2012. "Growing Stars: A Laboratory Analysis of Network Formation," Working Papers 1035, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Oct 2012.
  7. Boris van Leeuwen & Theo Offerman & Arthur Schram, 2013. "Superstars Need Social Benefits: An Experiment on Network Formation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-112/I, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Sanjeev Goyal & Stephanie Rosenkranz & Utz Weitzel & Vincent Buskens, 2014. "Individual Search and Social Networks," Working Papers 2014.49, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  9. Anna Contea & Daniela T. Di Cagno & Emanuela Sciubbad, 2011. "Behavioural patterns in social networks," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-060, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  10. Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Katinka Pantz, 2005. "Collaborative Networks in Experimental Triopolies," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-38, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.

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