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Search in the Formation of Large Networks: How Random are Socially Generated Networks?

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  • Matthew O. Jackson

    (Caltech)

  • Brian W. Rogers

    (Caltech)

Abstract

We present a model of network formation where entering nodes find other nodes to link to both completely at random and through search of the neighborhoods of these randomly met nodes. We show that this model exhibits the full spectrum of features that have been found to characterize large socially generated networks. Moreover, we derive the distribution of degree (number of links) across nodes, and show that while the upper tail of the distribution is approximately ``scale- free,'' the lower tail may exhibit substantial curvature, just as in observed networks. We then fit the model to data from six networks. Besides offering a close fit of these diverse networks, the model allows us to impute the relative importance of search versus random attachment in link formation. We find that the fitted ratio of random meetings to search-based meetings varies dramatically across these applications. Finally, we show that as this random/search ratio varies, the resulting degree distributions can be completely ordered in the sense of second order stochastic dominance. This allows us to infer how the relative randomness in the formation process affects average utility in the network.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/game/papers/0503/0503005.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0503005.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 14 Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0503005

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 44
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: Networks; Network Formation; Power Laws; Scale-Free Networks; Small Worlds; Search;

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References

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  1. Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 1994. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Discussion Papers 1098, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco van der Leij & José Luis Moraga Gonzales, 2004. "Economics: An Emerging Small World?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1287, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Barabási, Albert-László & Albert, Réka & Jeong, Hawoong, 2000. "Scale-free characteristics of random networks: the topology of the world-wide web," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 281(1), pages 69-77.
  4. Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal, 2002. "Network Formation with Heterogeneous Players," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-069/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers, 2005. "The Economics of Small Worlds," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 617-627, 04/05.
  6. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  7. López-Pintado, Dunia, 2008. "Diffusion in complex social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 573-590, March.
  8. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Goeree, Jacob K. & Riedl, Arno & Ule, Aljaz, 2009. "In search of stars: Network formation among heterogeneous agents," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 445-466, November.
  2. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Rahmi Ilkiliç, 2004. "Pairwise-Stability and Nash Equilibria in Network Formation," Working Papers 182, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education and Crime," Working Paper Series 645, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. Paolo Pin, 2006. "Eight degrees of separation," Working Papers 2006_26, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  5. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00589657 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Xavier Gabaix & Parameswaran Gopikrishnan & Vasiliki Plerou & H. Eugene Stanley, 2006. "Institutional Investors and Stock Market Volatility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 461-504, May.
  7. Fernando Leiva B., 2006. "Pricing Patents through Citations," 2006 Meeting Papers 834, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Yannis M. Ioannides, 2005. "Random Graphs and Social Networks: An Economics Perspective," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0518, Department of Economics, Tufts University.

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