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Conformism and self-selection in social networks

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  • Boucher, Vincent

Abstract

I present a model of conformism in social networks that incorporates both peer effects and self-selection. I show that conformism has positive social value and that social welfare can be bounded by network polarization and connectivity measures. I apply the model to empirical data on high school students' participation in extracurricular activities. I find that the local effect of conformism (i.e. the endogenous peer effect for a fixed network structure) ranges from 7.5% to 45%, depending on the number of peers that an individual has. Simulations show that the optimal policies of an inequality-averse policymaker change depending on a school's enrollment. Small schools should encourage shy students to interact more with other students, while large schools should focus on promoting role models within the school.

Suggested Citation

  • Boucher, Vincent, 2016. "Conformism and self-selection in social networks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 30-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:136:y:2016:i:c:p:30-44
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.02.005
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Conformism; Social networks; Peer effects; Social interactions; Network formation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • C57 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Econometrics of Games and Auctions

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