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The Role of Spatial Interaction in Social Networks

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  • Johannes Illenberger

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  • Kai Nagel

    ()

  • Gunnar Flötteröd

    ()

Abstract

This article addresses the role of spatial interaction in social networks. We analyse empirical data describing a network of leisure contacts and show that the probability to accept a person as a contact scales in distance with ∼ d − 1.4 . Moreover, the analysis reveals that the number of contacts an individual possesses is independent from its spatial location and the spatial distribution of opportunities. This means that individuals living in areas with a low accessibility to other persons (rural areas) exhibit at average the same number of contacts compared to individuals living in areas with high accessibility (urban areas). Low accessibility is thus compensated with a higher background probability to accept other candidates as social contacts. In addition, we propose a model for large-scale social networks involving a spatial and social interaction between individuals. Simulation studies are conducted using a synthetic population based on census data as input. The results show that the model is capable of reproducing the spatial structure, but, however, fails to reproduce other topological characteristics. Both, the analysis of empirical data and the simulation results provide a further evidence that spatial interaction is a crucial aspect of social networks. Yet, it appears that spatial proximity does only explain the spatial structure of a network but has no significant impact on its topology. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Illenberger & Kai Nagel & Gunnar Flötteröd, 2013. "The Role of Spatial Interaction in Social Networks," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 255-282, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:netspa:v:13:y:2013:i:3:p:255-282
    DOI: 10.1007/s11067-012-9180-4
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11067-012-9180-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. ben-Avraham, Daniel & F. Rozenfeld, Alejandro & Cohen, Reuven & Havlin, Shlomo, 2003. "Geographical embedding of scale-free networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 330(1), pages 107-116.
    2. Wong, Ling Heng & Pattison, Philippa & Robins, Garry, 2006. "A spatial model for social networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 360(1), pages 99-120.
    3. Tilahun, Nebiyou & Levinson, David, 2011. "Work and home location: Possible role of social networks," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 323-331, May.
    4. A G Wilson, 1971. "A Family of Spatial Interaction Models, and Associated Developments," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 3(1), pages 1-32, March.
    5. M. T. Gastner & M. E.J. Newman, 2006. "The spatial structure of networks," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 49(2), pages 247-252, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. James Christopher Westland & Jin Xing Hao & Xinping Xiao & Siqing Shan, 2016. "Substitutes, Complements and Network Effects in Instant Messaging Services," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 525-543, June.
    2. David Rey & Lauren Gardner & S. Travis Waller, 2016. "Finding Outbreak Trees in Networks with Limited Information," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 687-721, June.
    3. Tatsuaki Kuroda, 2015. "A Model of Stratified Production Process and Spatial Risk," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 271-292, June.
    4. César Ducruet & Laurent Beauguitte, 2014. "Spatial Science and Network Science: Review and Outcomes of a Complex Relationship," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 297-316, December.
    5. Rainer Andergassen & Franco Nardini & Massimo Ricottilli, 2015. "Emergence and Resilience in a Model of Innovation and Network Formation," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 293-311, June.
    6. Pablo Coto-Millán & Xose Luís Fernández & Miguel Ángel Pesquera & Manuel Agüeros, 2016. "Impact of Logistics on Technical Efficiency of World Production (2007–2012)," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 981-995, December.
    7. Michael Fire & Rami Puzis, 2016. "Organization Mining Using Online Social Networks," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 545-578, June.
    8. Amitrajeet Batabyal & Peter Nijkamp, 2014. "Innovation, Decentralization, and Planning in a Multi-Region Model of Schumpeterian Economic Growth," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 605-628, December.
    9. Marco Modica & Aura Reggiani, 2015. "Spatial Economic Resilience: Overview and Perspectives," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 211-233, June.

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