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Spillovers in networks of user generated content: Evidence from 23 natural experiments on Wikipedia

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  • Kummer, Michael E.

Abstract

Endogeneity in network formation hinders the identification of the role social networks play in generating spillovers, peer effects and other externalities. This paper tackles this problem and investigates how the link network between articles on the German Wikipedia influences the attention and content generation individual articles receive. Identification exploits local exogenous shocks on a small number of nodes in the network. It can thus avoid the usually required, but strong, assumptions of exogenous observed characteristics and link structure in networks. This approach also applies if, due to a lack of network information, identification through partial overlaps in the network structure fails (e.g. in classrooms). Exogenous variation is generated by natural and technical disasters or by articles being featured on the German Wikipedia's start page. The effects on neighboring pages are substantial; I observe an increase of almost 100 percent in terms of both views and content generation. The aggregate effect over all neighbors is also large: I find that a view on a treated article converts one for one into a view on a neighboring article. However, the resulting content generation is small in absolute terms.

Suggested Citation

  • Kummer, Michael E., 2013. "Spillovers in networks of user generated content: Evidence from 23 natural experiments on Wikipedia," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-098, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13098
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/88127/1/772111995.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kummer, Michael E. & Saam, Marianne & Halatchliyski, Iassen & Giorgidze, George, 2012. "Centrality and content creation in networks: The case of German Wikipedia," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-053, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Bruno Crépon & Esther Duflo & Marc Gurgand & Roland Rathelot & Philippe Zamora, 2013. "Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 531-580.
    3. Claussen, Jörg & Falck, Oliver & Grohsjean, Thorsten, 2012. "The strength of direct ties: Evidence from the electronic game industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, pages 223-230.
    4. Gordon B. Dahl & Katrine V. L?ken & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Peer Effects in Program Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2049-2074, July.
    5. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & Silvia Redaelli, 2010. "Identification of Social Interactions through Partially Overlapping Peer Groups," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 241-275, April.
    6. Manuela Angelucci & Giacomo De Giorgi, 2009. "Indirect Effects of an Aid Program: How Do Cash Transfers Affect Ineligibles' Consumption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 486-508, March.
    7. Scott A. Imberman & Adriana D. Kugler & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2012. "Katrina's Children: Evidence on the Structure of Peer Effects from Hurricane Evacuees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2048-2082, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Slivko, Olga, 2014. "Peer effects in collaborative content generation: The evidence from German Wikipedia," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-128, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Media; Information; Knowledge; Spillovers; Large-scale Networks; Natural Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • D29 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Other

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