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Ethnic Identity and Social Distance in Friendship Formation

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  • De Martí, Joan
  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

We analyze a model of network formation with agents that belong to different communities and an endogenous cost structure. Both individual benefits and costs depend on direct as well as indirect connections. Benefits of an indirect connection decrease with distance in the network, while the cost of a link depends on the type of agents involved in it as well as the rest of linkage decisions of both of them. Two individuals from the same community always face a low linking cost. The cost of forming a relationship for two individuals belonging to different communities diminishes with the rate of exposure of each of them to the other community. As a result, our model introduces endogenous social distances that rely on individual positions in the network. We derive a number of results with regard to equilibrium networks: (i) socialization among the same type of agents might be weak even if the within-type link cost is very low; (ii) oppositional identity patterns can arise for a wide range of parameters; (iii) integrated networks can be socially preferable to segregated networks.

Suggested Citation

  • De Martí, Joan & Zenou, Yves, 2009. "Ethnic Identity and Social Distance in Friendship Formation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7566, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7566
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. de Marti, Joan & Zenou, Yves, 2009. "Social Networks," Working Paper Series 816, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Angelo Mele, 2010. "A structural model of segregation in social networks," CeMMAP working papers CWP32/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bridges; ethnic minorities; identity; Network formation; social norms; structural holes;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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