IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Social Networks in Determining Employment and Wages: Patterns, Dynamics, and Inequality

  • Antoni Calvo-Armengol

    (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

  • Matthew O. Jackson

    (California Institute of Technology)

We develop a model where agents obtain information about job opportunities through an explicitly modeled network of social contacts. We show that an improvement in the employment status of either an agent's direct or indirect contacts leads to an increase in the agent's employment probability and expected wages, in the sense of first order stochastic dominance. A similar effect results from an increase in the network contacts of an agent. In terms of dynamics and patterns, we show that employment is positively correlated across time and agents, and the same is true for wages. Moreover, unemployment exhibits persistence in the sense of duration dependence: the probability of obtaining a job decreases in the length of time that an agent has been unemployed. Finally, we examine inequality between two groups. If staying in the labor market is costly (in opportunity costs, education costs, or skills maintenance) and one group starts with a worse employment status or a smaller network, then that group's drop-out rate will be higher and their employment prospects and wages will be persistently below that of the other group.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0211007.

in new window

Date of creation: 04 Nov 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0211007
Note: Type of Document - pdf
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Suresh Mutuswami & Eyal Winter, 2001. "Subscription Mechanisms for Network Formation," Discussion Paper Series dp264, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  2. Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 1995. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Discussion Papers 1098R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 1998. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," Working papers 98-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Durlauf, Steven N, 1996. "A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 75-93, March.
  5. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
  6. Derek A. Neal & William R. Johnson, 1995. "The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," NBER Working Papers 5124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Wright, Randall, 1986. "Job Search and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 38-55, February.
  8. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
  9. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N., 2001. "Interactions-based models," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 54, pages 3297-3380 Elsevier.
  10. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  11. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  12. Tesfatsion, Leigh, 1997. "A Trade Network Game with Endogenous Partner Selection," Staff General Research Papers Archive 1680, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  13. Dutta, B. & van den Nouweland, C.G.A.M. & Tijs, S.H., 2003. "Link formation in cooperative situations," Other publications TiSEM 840ac1d0-9e23-41a7-832e-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  14. Blanchard, O.J. & Diamond, P., 1990. "Ranking, Unemployment Duration, And Wages," Working papers 546, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  16. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  17. Vishwanath, Tara, 1989. "Job Search, Stigma Effect, and Escape Rate from Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 487-502, October.
  18. Flinn, C. & Heckman, J., 1982. "New methods for analyzing structural models of labor force dynamics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 115-168, January.
  19. Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1997. "Stable Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 322-344, October.
    • Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1996. "Stable Networks," Working Papers 971, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  20. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200.
  21. Lynch, Lisa M, 1989. "The Youth Labor Market in the Eighties: Determinants of Re-employment Probabilities for Young Men and Women," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 37-45, February.
  22. Giorgio Topa, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 261-295.
  23. Troy Tassier, 2006. "Labor Market Implications of Weak Ties," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 704-719, January.
  24. Edward Droste & Robert P. Gilles & Cathleen Johnson, 2000. "Evolution of Conventions in Endogenous Social Networks," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0594, Econometric Society.
  25. Slikker, Marco & van den Nouweland, Anne, 2001. "A One-Stage Model of Link Formation and Payoff Division," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 153-175, January.
  26. Watts, Alison, 2001. "A Dynamic Model of Network Formation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 331-341, February.
  27. Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "The Stability and Efficiency of Economic and Social Networks," Microeconomics 0211011, EconWPA.
  28. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
  29. 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.
  30. Kenneth J. Arrow & Ron Borzekowski, 2004. "Limited network connections and the distribution of wages," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-41, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  31. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1992. "Loss of Skill During Unemployment and the Persistence of Employment Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1371-1391.
  32. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  33. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0211007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.