Behavioral Communities and the Atomic Structure of Networks

54 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017 Last revised: 18 Jan 2019

See all articles by Matthew O. Jackson

Matthew O. Jackson

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

Evan Storms

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

We develop a method of detecting the 'behavioral communities' of a social network based on how people act when they coordinate with their friends' behaviors. There can be multiple different 'conventions' (equilibria or outcomes of a diffusion) in which people in some parts of the network adopt a behavior while people in other parts of the network do not. We define atoms/communities to be groups of people whose behaviors are closely tied together: they behave the same as each other in every convention. This provides a microfoundation for a method of detecting communities in social and economic networks. We characterize such behavioral communities in some random graphs as a function of the behavior, and provide an algorithm for identifying the toms/communities. We discuss and illustrate applications including: optimally seeding diffusion of behaviors involving peer influence, detecting which demographics or nodal characteristics define a society's communities, estimating the strength of peer influence on behavior, as well as missing network data, by observing conventions.

Keywords: Social Networks, Networks, Cohesion, Community Detection, Communities, Games on Networks, Coordination, Complementarities, Peer Effects, Peer Influence, Diffusion, Contagion, Atoms

JEL Classification: D85, D13, L14, O12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Matthew O. and Storms, Evan, Behavioral Communities and the Atomic Structure of Networks (January 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3049748 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3049748

Matthew O. Jackson (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
1-650-723-3544 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jacksonm

Santa Fe Institute

1399 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501
United States

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) ( email )

180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Evan Storms

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
STANFORD, CA 94305-6072
United States

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