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Social networks and the process of "globalization"

  • Dürnecker, Georg
  • Vega-Redondo, Fernando

We propose a stylised dynamic model to understand the role of social networks in the phenomenon we call "globalization." This term refers to the process by which even agents who are geographically far apart come to interact, thus being able to overcome what would otherwise be a fast saturation of local opportunities. A key feature of our model is that the social network is the main channel through which agents exploit new opportunities. Therefore, only if the social network becomes global (heuristically, it "reaches far in few steps") can global interaction be steadily sustained. To shed light on the conditions under which such a transformation may, or may not, take place is the main objective of the paper. One of the main insights arising from the model is that, in order for the social network to turn global, the economy needs to display a degree of "geographical cohesion" that is neither too high (for then global opportunities simply do not arise) nor too low (then the meeting mechanism displays too little structure for the process to take off). But if globalization does materialize, we show that it is a robust state of affairs that often arises abruptly as key parameters change. This occurs, in particular, as the rate of arrival of ideas rises, or when there is a high enough increase in the range at which the network transmits information.

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Paper provided by University of Mannheim, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 12-18.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:mnh:wpaper:32545
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  1. Tabellini, Guido, 2007. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 6534, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. David Dollar & Aart Kraay, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages F22-F49, 02.
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  9. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "THE EXTERNAL WEALTH OF NATIONS: Measures of Foreign Assets and Liabilities For Industrial and Developing Countries," Trinity Economics Papers 20014, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  10. Fernando Vega Redondo, 2002. "Building Up Social Capital In A Changing World," Working Papers. Serie AD 2002-26, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  11. Giorgio Fagiolo & Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo, 2007. "The Evolution of the World Trade Web," LEM Papers Series 2007/17, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  12. Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Lippert, Steffen, 2004. "Networks of Relations," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 570, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 03 May 2005.
  13. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
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