The Spread of Free-Riding Behavior in a Social Network
We study a model where agents, located in a social network, decide whether to exert effort or not in experimenting with a new technology (or acquiring a new skill, innovating, etc.). We assume that agents have strong incentives to free ride on their neighbors' effort decisions. In the static version of the model efforts are chosen simultaneously. In equilibrium, agents exerting effort are never connected with each other and all other agents are connected with at least one agent exerting effort. We propose a mean-field dynamics in which agents choose in each period the best response to the last period's decisions of their neighbors. We characterize the equilibrium of such a dynamics and show how the pattern of free riders in the network depends on properties of the connectivity distribution.
|Date of creation:||04 Nov 2007|
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