A Caltech Library Service

The Economics of Social Networks

Jackson, Matthew O. (2005) The Economics of Social Networks. Social Science Working Paper, 1237. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

PDF (sswp 1237 - Aug. 2005) - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The science of social networks is a central field of sociological study, a major application of random graph theory, and an emerging area of study by economists, statistical physicists and computer scientists. While these literatures are (slowly) becoming aware of each other, and on occasion drawing from one another, they are still largely distinct in their methods, interests, and goals. Here, my aim is to provide some perspective on the research from these literatures, with a focus on the formal modeling of social networks and the two major types of models: those based on random graphs and those based on game theoretic reasoning. I highlight some of the strengths, weaknesses, and potential synergies between these two network modeling approaches.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Jackson, Matthew O.0000-0001-9846-4249
Additional Information:I thank the Lee Center for Advanced Networking for financial support. I am very grateful to collaborators on networks projects, who have helped me learn about social networks and the fascinating questions they present; and who are inexorably tied to the views I take herein. So I thank (in chronological order), Asher Wolinsky, Alison Watts, Bhaskar Dutta, Anne van den Nouweland, Toni Calvó-Armengol, Francis Bloch, Gary Charness, Alan Kirman, Jernej Copic, Brian Rogers, Dunia Lopez-Pintado, and Leeat Yariv. I also thank Yann Bramoullé, Toni Calvó-Armengol, Yannis Ioannides, Alan Kirman, Dunia Lopez-Pintado, Laurent Mathevet, Nicolas Quérou, Alesssandro Vespignani, Stanley Wasserman, Duncan Watts, and Leeat Yariv for comments on an earlier draft. I am grateful to Tom Palfrey for an insightful discussion of the paper. This is a written version of a lecture prepared for presentation at the 2005 World Congress of the Econometric Society, which is to appear in the Proceedings of the 9th World Congress of the Econometric Society, edited by Richard Blundell, Whitney Newey, and Torsten Persson, Cambridge University Press.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Caltech Lee Center for Advanced NetworkingUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Networks, Social Networks, Network Games, Network Formation, Game Theory
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1237
Classification Code:JEL classification numbers: A14, C71, C72
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110714-120443155
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:24423
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Nov 2011 00:35
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:56

Repository Staff Only: item control page