Workings of the Melting Pot: Social Networks and the Evolution of Population Attributes

20 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2014

See all articles by Jan K. Brueckner

Jan K. Brueckner

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Oleg A. Smirnov

University of Toledo - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

This paper links the two nascent economic literatures on social networks and cultural assimilation by investigating the evolution of population attributes in a simple model where agents are influenced by their acquaintances. The main conclusion of the analysis is that attributes converge to a meltingā€pot equilibrium, where everyone is identical, provided the social network exhibits a sufficient degree of interconnectedness. When the model is extended to allow an expanding acquaintance set, convergence is guaranteed provided a weaker interconnectedness condition is satisfied, and convergence is rapid. If the intensity of interactions with acquaintances becomes endogenous, convergence (when it occurs) is slowed when agents prefer to interact with people like themselves and hastened when interaction with dissimilar agents is preferred.

Suggested Citation

Brueckner, Jan K. and Smirnov, Oleg A., Workings of the Melting Pot: Social Networks and the Evolution of Population Attributes (May 2007). Journal of Regional Science, Vol. 47, Issue 2, pp. 209-228, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2514616 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9787.2007.00506.x

Jan K. Brueckner (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

3151 Social Science Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Oleg A. Smirnov

University of Toledo - Department of Economics ( email )

Toledo, OH 43606
United States

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