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Economics: An Emerging Small World?

Listed author(s):
  • Sanjeev Goyal

    ()

    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, and University of Essex)

  • Marco van der Leij

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Jose Luis Moraga

    ()

    (Groningen University)

This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in the 'Journal of Political Economy' . This paper examines the small world hypothesis. The first part of the paper presents empirical evidence on the evolution of a particular world: the world of journal publishing economists during the period 1970-2000. We find that in the 1970's the world of economics was a collection of islands. Two decades later, in the 1990's the world of economics was much more integrated, with the largest island covering close to half of the population. At the same time, the distance between individuals on the largest island had fallen significantly. Thus we believe that economics is an emerging small world.An exploration of the micro aspects of the network yields three findings: one, the average number of co-authors is very small but increasing; two, the distribution of co-authors is very unequal; and three, there exist a number of `stars', individuals who have a large number of co-authors. Thus the economics world is a set of inter-connected stars.We take the view that individuals decide on whether to work alone or with others; this means that individual incentives should help us understand why the economics world has the structure it does. The second part of the paper develops a simple theoretical model of co-authorship. The main finding of the model is that in the presence of productivity differentials and a shortage of high productivity individuals, inter-connected stars will arise naturally in equilibrium.

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Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 04-001/1.

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Date of creation: 05 Jan 2004
Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20040001
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  1. John Hudson, 1996. "Trends in Multi-authored Papers in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 153-158, Summer.
  2. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2000. "Intellectual Collaboration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 632-661, June.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
  4. Goyal, Sanjeev, 2003. "Learning in Networks: a survey," Economics Discussion Papers 9983, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  5. Tanya S. Rosenblat & Markus M. Mobius, 2004. "Getting Closer or Drifting Apart?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 971-1009.
  6. Venkatesh Bala & Sanjeev Goyal, 1998. "Learning from Neighbours," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(3), pages 595-621.
  7. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 612-643, August.
  8. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Sharon M. Oster, 2002. "Tools or Toys? The Impact of High Technology on Scholarly Productivity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 539-555, October.
  9. Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996. "Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," Working papers 9612, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Venkatesh Bala & Sanjeev Goyal, 2000. "A Noncooperative Model of Network Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1181-1230, September.
  11. Matthew O. Jackson, 2003. "A Survey of Models of Network Formation: Stability and Efficiency," Game Theory and Information 0303011, EconWPA.
  12. Eshel, Ilan & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 1998. "Altruists, Egoists, and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 157-179, March.
  13. McDowell, John M & Melvin, Michael, 1983. "The Determinants of Co-Authorship: An Analysis of the Economics Literature," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 155-160, February.
  14. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
  15. Glenn Ellison, 2002. "The Slowdown of the Economics Publishing Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 947-993, October.
  16. repec:esx:essedp:563 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Glenn Ellison, 2002. "Evolving Standards for Academic Publishing: A q-r Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 994-1034, October.
  18. Barabási, Albert-László & Albert, Réka & Jeong, Hawoong, 1999. "Mean-field theory for scale-free random networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 272(1), pages 173-187.
  19. Rachel E. Kranton & Deborah F. Minehart, 2001. "A Theory of Buyer-Seller Networks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 485-508, June.
  20. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1998. "Financial Contagion Journal of Political Economy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-31, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
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