In Social Network Analysis, Which Centrality Index Should I Use? Theoretical Differences and Empirical Similarities among Top Centralities

Journal of Methods and Measurement in the Social Sciences, Vol. 8, No. 2, 72-99, 2017

28 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2019

See all articles by Dawn Iacobucci

Dawn Iacobucci

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Rebecca McBride

Calvin College

Deidre Popovich

Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University

Maria Rouziou

HEC Paris - Marketing

Date Written: July 24, 2019

Abstract

This research examines four frequently used centrality indices — degree, closeness, betweenness, and eigenvectors — to understand the extent to which their clear theoretical distinctions are reflected in differences in empirical performance. Even for stylized networks in which one centrality index may seem more relevant than the others, the four indices are frequently highly correlated. This result can be interpreted as good news: it does not diminish the conceptual distinctions, yet it suggests the indices are rather robust, yielding similar information about actors’ positions in networks, which can be reassuring given their widespread use by applied network analysts who may not appreciate the theoretically distinct origins and definitions. This research also compares computational speed across the centrality indices as another practical element that may help determine the choice of centrality index.

Keywords: centrality; degree; closeness; betweenness; eigenvector centrality; social networks

Suggested Citation

Iacobucci, Dawn and McBride, Rebecca and Popovich, Deidre and Rouziou, Maria, In Social Network Analysis, Which Centrality Index Should I Use? Theoretical Differences and Empirical Similarities among Top Centralities (July 24, 2019). Journal of Methods and Measurement in the Social Sciences, Vol. 8, No. 2, 72-99, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3425975 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3425975

Dawn Iacobucci (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Rebecca McBride

Calvin College ( email )

Grand Rapids, MI 49546
United States

Deidre Popovich

Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University ( email )

Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

Maria Rouziou

HEC Paris - Marketing ( email )

Paris
France

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
6
Abstract Views
116
PlumX Metrics