How Homophily Affects the Speed of Learning and Best Response Dynamics
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Matthew O. Jackson
Stanford University - Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
February 4, 2012
FEEM Working Paper No. 35.2009
We examine how the speed of learning and best-response processes depends on homophily: the tendency of agents to associate disproportionately with those having similar traits. When agents’ beliefs or behaviors are developed by averaging what they see among their neighbors, then convergence to a consensus is slowed by the presence of homophily, but is not influenced by network density (in contrast to other network processes that depend on shortest paths). In deriving these results, we propose a new, general measure of homophily based on the relative frequencies of interactions among different groups. An application to communication in a society before a vote shows how the time it takes for the vote to correctly aggregate information depends on the
homophily and the initial information distribution.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 60
Keywords: Networks, Learning, Diffusion, Homophily, Friendships, Social Networks, Random Graphs, Mixing Time, Convergence, Speed of Learning, Speed of Convergence
JEL Classification: D83, D85, I21, J15, Z13working papers series
Date posted: August 8, 2009 ; Last revised: August 29, 2012
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