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The Laws of the Web: Patterns in the Ecology of Information


  • Bernardo A. Huberman

    () (Hewlett-Packard Laboratories)


Despite its haphazard growth, the Web hides powerful underlying regularities--from the organization of its links to the patterns found in its use by millions of users. Many of these regularities have been predicted on the basis of theoretical models based on a field of physics--statistical mechanics--that few would have thought applicable to the social domain. In this book Bernardo Huberman explains in accessible language the laws of the Web. One of the foremost researchers in the field, Huberman has established, for example, that the surfing patterns of individuals are describable by a precise law. Such findings can lead to more efficient Web design and use. They also shed light on social mechanisms whose significance goes beyond the Web. In this sense, the Web is a gigantic informational ecosystem that can be used to quantify and test explanations of human behavior and social interaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernardo A. Huberman, 2003. "The Laws of the Web: Patterns in the Ecology of Information," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582252, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262582252

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Van Wijnbergen, Sweden, 1986. "On fiscal deficits, the real exchange rate and the world rate of interest," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1013-1023, October.
    2. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
    3. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    4. Sutherland, Alan, 1997. "Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 147-162, August.
    5. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
    6. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    7. Uzawa, H, 1969. "Time Preference and the Penrose Effect in a Two-Class Model of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 628-652, Part II, .
    8. van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1987. "Tariffs, Employment and the Current Account: Real Wage Resistance and the Macroeconomics of Protectionism," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 691-706, October.
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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Boppart, Timo & Staub, Kevin, 2012. "Online accessibility of academic articles and the diversity of economics," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62040, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item


    statistical mechanics; the Web; informational ecosystem;

    JEL classification:

    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics


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