A Caltech Library Service

Diffusion on Social Networks

Jackson, Matthew O. and Yariv, Leeat (2005) Diffusion on Social Networks. Economie Publique (Public Economics), 16 (1). pp. 3-16. ISSN 1373-8496.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


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:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemEarlier version published as Social Science Working Paper 1251
Jackson, Matthew O.0000-0001-9846-4249
Additional Information:© Institut d’économie publique – IDEP. 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. Formerly SSWP 1251.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Lee Center for Advanced NetworkingUNSPECIFIED
John Simon Guggenheim FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Diffusion, Social Networks, Tipping, Technology Adoption, Coordination
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:JEL: C45, C70, C73, D85, L15
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171103-144115558
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82948
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:06 Nov 2017 23:30
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 19:00

Repository Staff Only: item control page