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Is there more than one linkage between Social Network and Inequality?

  • D'Angelo, Emanuela

    (Universita Politecnica, delle Marche, Ancona, Italy)

  • Lilla, Marco

    (Universita Politecnica, delle Marche, Ancona, Italy)

The paper aims to analyse how income inequality affects social networks strength in fourteen European Countries. We introduce some new evidences by using the ECHP for testing the networks-inequality nexus and being able to construct directly inequality indices from the microdata as well their decomposition. In particular, we focus on two main point: firstly, we analyse how total income inequality could be related to social network; secondly, we introduce the "clustered network" definition, by decomposing total income inequality based on the education level. We test the existence of a pluralism linkage between Social Network and Inequality and many results confirm that the linkage is neither unambiguous nor unidirectional. We introduce and stress some important issue. First, we use di erent levels of social network: narrow, wide and anonymous; second, we use different inequality indexes (different sensitiveness to changes at different part of the income distribution); third, the ambiguous linkage could be explained on one hand by the positive role of emulation and reciprocity behaviors and on the other hand by negative ones of the envy, amoral familism and keeping up with the Joneses mechanisms. Finally, we stress the different roles of within and between components of inequality. Our idea is that higher income inequality - related to the changing education premia - could affect social network formation among individuals through two different channels: higher inequality among di erent educated ind ividuals could raise (clustered networks), while higher inequality among similars could halt the social networks.

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Paper provided by IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD in its series IRISS Working Paper Series with number 2007-12.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:2007-12
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