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Diffusion on Social Networks

Jackson, Matthew O. and Yariv, Leeat (2006) Diffusion on Social Networks. Social Science Working Paper, 1251. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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We analyze a model of diffusion on social networks. Agents are connected according to an undirected graph (the network) and choose one of two actions (e.g., either to adopt a new behavior or technology or not to adopt it). The return to each of the actions depends on how many neighbors an agent has, which actions the agent's neighbors choose, and some agent-specific cost and benefit parameters. At the outset, a small portion of the population is randomly selected to adopt the behavior. We analyze whether the behavior spreads to a larger portion of the population. We show that there is a threshold where "tipping" occurs: if a large enough initial group is selected then the behavior grows and spreads to a significant portion of the population, while otherwise the behavior collapses so that no one in the population chooses to adopt the behavior. We characterize the tipping threshold and the eventual portion that adopts if the threshold is surpassed. We also show how the threshold and adoption rate depend on the network structure. Applications of the techniques introduced in this paper include marketing, epidemiology, technological transfers, and information transmission, among others.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemLater version published in Economie Publique
Jackson, Matthew O.0000-0001-9846-4249
Additional Information:An earlier version of this work was presented in a lecture at the Public Economic Theory Meetings 2005 in Marseille. We thank the organizers: Nicolas Gravel, Alain Trannoy, and Myrna Wooders, for the invitation to present this work there, and Laurent Methevet for his helpful comments. We are also grateful for financial support from the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, the Lee Center for Advanced Networking, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Lee Center for Advanced NetworkingUNSPECIFIED
John Simon Guggenheim FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Diffusion, social networks, tipping, technology adoption, coordination
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1251
Classification Code:JEL: C45, C70, C73, D85, L15
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170801-110359771
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79683
Deposited By: Hanna Storlie
Deposited On:01 Aug 2017 20:14
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:22

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