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It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation

  • Falk, Armin

    ()

    (University of Bonn)

  • Kosfeld, Michael

    ()

    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

We present an economic experiment on network formation, in which subjects can decide to form links to one another. Direct links are costly but being connected is valuable. The gametheoretic basis for our experiment is the model of Bala and Goyal (2000). They distinguish between two scenarios regarding the flow of benefits through a network, the so-called 1-way and 2-way flow model. Our main results show that the prediction based on Nash and strict Nash equilibrium works well in the 1-way flow model but fails largely in the 2-way flow model. We observe a strong learning dynamic in the 1-way flow model but less so in the 2-way flow model. Finally, costs of a direct link have a positive impact on the occurrence of (strict) Nash networks in the 1-way flow model but a negative impact in the 2-way flow model. In our discussion on possible explanations for these results we focus on strategic asymmetry and asymmetry with respect to payoffs. We find that the latter asymmetry, i.e., payoff inequity, plays an important role in the network formation process.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 777.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Network Economics: 2012, 11 (3), Article 2
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp777
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2003. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Labor and Demography 0305001, EconWPA.
  2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  3. John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 1999. "Interfirm Relationships And Informal Credit In Vietnam," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1285-1320, November.
  4. David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 9-23, February.
  5. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects And Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055, August.
  7. Charness, Gary B & Corominas-Bosch, Margarida & FRECHETTE, GUILLAUME, 2005. "Bargaining and Network Structure: An Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7v98682v, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  8. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  9. Ellison, Glenn, 1993. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1047-71, September.
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  12. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  13. Harry J. Holzer, 1987. "Hiring Procedures in the Firm: Their Economic Determinants and Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 2185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  15. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  16. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  17. Venkatesh Bala & Sanjeev Goyal, 2000. "A Noncooperative Model of Network Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1181-1230, September.
  18. Colin F. Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-219, Spring.
  19. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Blume Lawrence E., 1993. "The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 387-424, July.
  21. Michael Kosfeld, 2002. "Stochastic strategy adjustment in coordination games," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 321-339.
  22. Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "The Stability and Efficiency of Economic and Social Networks," Microeconomics 0211011, EconWPA.
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