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Workings Of The Melting Pot: Social Networks And The Evolution Of Population Attributes

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  • Jan K. Brueckner
  • Oleg Smirnov

Abstract

This paper links the two nascent economic literatures on social networks and cultural assimilation by investigating the evolution of population attributes in a simple model where agents are influenced by their acquaintances. The main conclusion of the analysis is that attributes converge to a melting-pot equilibrium, where everyone is identical, provided the social network exhibits a sufficient degree of interconnectedness. When the model is extended to allow an expanding acquaintance set, convergence is guaranteed provided a weaker interconnectedness condition is satisfied, and convergence is rapid. If the intensity of interactions with acquaintances becomes endogenous, convergence (when it occurs) is slowed when agents prefer to interact with people like themselves and hastened when interaction with dissimilar agents is preferred. Copyright Blackwell Publishing, Inc. 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Jan K. Brueckner & Oleg Smirnov, 2007. "Workings Of The Melting Pot: Social Networks And The Evolution Of Population Attributes," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 209-228.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:47:y:2007:i:2:p:209-228
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jan K. Brueckner, 2006. "Friendship Networks," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(5), pages 847-865.
    2. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    3. Jackson, Matthew O. & Wolinsky, Asher, 1996. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 44-74, October.
    4. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    6. 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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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:gamebe:v:105:y:2017:i:c:p:155-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Pichler, Michael, 2011. "The economics of cultural formation of preferences," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 431, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    3. Panebianco, Fabrizio, 2014. "Socialization networks and the transmission of interethnic attitudes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 583-610.
    4. Panebianco, Fabrizio & Verdier, Thierry, 2017. "Paternalism, homophily and cultural transmission in random networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 155-176.
    5. Panebianco, Fabrizio & Verdier, Thierry, 2015. "Paternalism, Cultural Transmission and Diffusion on Complex Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 10722, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Fabrizio Panebianco, 2009. "�Driving While Black�: A Theory for Interethnic Integration and Evolution of Prejudice," Working Papers 2009_10, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".

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