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Targeted vs. collective information sharing in networks

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  • Alexey Kushnir
  • Alexandru Nichifor

Abstract

We introduce a simple two-stage game of endogenous network formation and information sharing for reasoning about the optimal design of social networks like Facebook or Google+. We distinguish between unilateral and bilateral connections and between targeted and collective information sharing. Agents value being connected to other agents and sharing and receiving information. We consider multiple utility specifications. We show that the game always has an equilibrium in pure strategies and then we study how the network design and the utility specifications affect welfare. Surprisingly, we find that in general, targeted information sharing is not necessarily better than collective information sharing. However, if all agents are either "babblers" or "friends", irrespective of whether the network is unilateral or bilateral, in equilibrium, targeted information sharing yields higher welfare than collective information sharing.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 152.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:152

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Keywords: Networks; network formation; unilateral connections; bilateral connections; targeted information sharing; collective information sharing; Google; Facebook; babblers; friends;

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  1. Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1997. "Stable Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 322-344, October.
    • Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1996. "Stable Networks," Working Papers 971, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1991. "Information Sharing in Credit Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 579, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Galeotti, Andrea & Goyal, Sanjeev & Kamphorst, Jurjen, 2006. "Network formation with heterogeneous players," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 353-372, February.
  4. Echenique, Federico & Oviedo, Jorge, 2003. "A Theory of Stability in Many-to-Many Matching Markets," Working Papers 1185, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. 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.
  6. Ostrovsky, Michael & Schwarz, Michael, 2007. "Information Disclosure and Unraveling in Matching Markets," Research Papers 1965, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  7. Kleinberg, Jon & Ligett, Katrina, 2013. "Information-sharing in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 702-716.
  8. Venkatesh Bala & Sanjeev Goyal, 2000. "A Noncooperative Model of Network Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1181-1230, September.
  9. Kim, Chongmin & Wong, Kam-Chau, 2007. "Network formation and stable equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 536-549, March.
  10. Okuno-Fujiwara, Masahiro & Postlewaite, Andrew & Suzumura, Kotaro, 1990. "Strategic Information Revelation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 25-47, January.
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