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Conformism and Self-Selection in Social Networks

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  • Vincent Boucher

Abstract

I present a model of conformism in social networks that incorporates both peer effects and self-selection. I find that equilibrium behaviors are linked through the Laplacian matrix of the equilibrium network. I show that conformism has positive social value and that social welfare can be bounded by network centrality and connectivity measures. I apply the model using empirical data on high school student participation in extracurricular activities. I find that the local effects of conformism (i.e. endogenous peer effect for a fixed network structure) range from 7.5% to 45%, depending on the number of peers that an individual has. Simulations show that the optimal policies of an inequality-averse policy-maker change in relation to the size of a school. Small schools should encourage shy students to integrate more with other students, while large schools should focus on promoting role models within the school.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent Boucher, 2014. "Conformism and Self-Selection in Social Networks," Cahiers de recherche 1424, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1424
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Conformism; peer effects; network formation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • C57 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Econometrics of Games and Auctions

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