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In Search of Stars: Network Formation among Heterogeneous Agents

Author

Listed:
  • Aljaž Ule

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Jacob K. Goeree

    (California Institute of Technology)

  • Arno Riedl

    (University of Maastricht)

Abstract

This paper reports results from a laboratory experiment on network formation among heterogeneous agents. The experimental design extends the Bala-Goyal (2000) model of network formation with decay and two-way flow of benefits by allowing for agents with lower linking costs or higher benefits to others. Furthermore, agents’ types may be common knowledge or private information. In all treatments, the (efficient) equilibrium network has a “star” structure. With homogeneous agents, equilibrium predictions fail completely. In contrast, with heterogeneous agents stars frequently occur, often with the high-value or low-cost agent in the center. Stars are not born but rather develop: with a high-value agent, the network’s centrality, stability, and efficiency all increase over time. Probit estimations based on best-response behaviour and other-regarding preferences are used to analyze individual linking behavior. Our results suggest that heterogeneity is a major determinant for the predominance of star-like structures in real-life social networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Aljaž Ule & Jacob K. Goeree & Arno Riedl, 2007. "In Search of Stars: Network Formation among Heterogeneous Agents," Working Papers 2007.65, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2007.65
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Network Formation; Experiment; Heterogeneity; Private Information;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation

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