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An experimental device to elicit social networks

  • Pablo Brañas-Garza


    (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada)

  • Ramón Cobo-Reyes


    (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada)

  • Natalia Jiménez

    (Universidad de Granada)

  • Giovanni Ponti


    (Universidad de Alicante y Ferrara)

This paper proposes an original mechanism to elicit latent social networks. Subjects are invited to reveal their friends’ name and surname, together with a score measuring the strength of relationship. According to the mechanism, subjects are rewarded of a fixed price either a) when they do not name anybody or b) when the scores of a randomly selected (bidirectional) link are sufficiently close. We test the mechanism’s performance in the field. Our main results are: i) a very large percentage of links (75%) were corresponded. ii) the mechanism largely captures strong friendship relations and practically ignores weak relations. A simple model of friend—regarding preferences is developed to explain this evidence.

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Paper provided by Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada. in its series ThE Papers with number 05/19.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 12 Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gra:wpaper:05/19
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  1. Falk, Armin & Kosfeld, Michael, 2003. "It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 777, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  3. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin & Keser, Claudia, 2002. "Conventions and Local Interaction Structures: Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 177-205, May.
  4. Cary Deck & Cathleen Johnson, 2004. "Link bidding in laboratory networks," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 359-372, 04.
  5. Charness, Gary & Corominas-Bosch, Margarida & Frechette, Guillaume R., 2007. "Bargaining and network structure: An experiment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 28-65, September.
  6. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
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