Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in a Social Network

31 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2014

See all articles by Abhijit V. Banerjee

Abhijit V. Banerjee

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Arun G. Chandrasekhar

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

Matthew O. Jackson

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2014

Abstract

Can we identify the members of a community who are best- placed to diffuse information simply by asking a random sample of individuals? We show that boundedly-rational individuals can, simply by tracking sources of gossip, identify those who are most central in a network according to "diffusion centrality," which nests other standard centrality measures. Testing this prediction with data from 35 Indian villages, we find that respondents accurately nominate those who are diffusion central (not just those with many friends). Moreover, these nominees are more central in the network than traditional village leaders and geographically central individuals.

Suggested Citation

Banerjee, Abhijit V. and Chandrasekhar, Arun G. and Duflo, Esther and Jackson, Matthew O., Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in a Social Network (August 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20422. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2490834

Abhijit V. Banerjee (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Arun G. Chandrasekhar

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
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Matthew O. Jackson

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

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