The Determinants and Effects of Social Connectedness in Europe

38 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2020

See all articles by Michael Bailey

Michael Bailey

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Theresa Kuchler

New York University (NYU)

Dominic Russel

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Bogdan State

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Johannes Stroebel

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

We use aggregated data from Facebook to study the structure of social networks across European regions. Social connectedness declines strongly in geographic distance and at country borders. Historical borders and unions — such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia, and East/West Germany — shape present-day social connectedness over and above today's political boundaries. All else equal, social connectedness is stronger between regions with residents of similar ages and education levels, as well as between those that share a language and religion. In contrast, region-pairs with dissimilar incomes tend to be more connected, likely due to increased migration from poorer to richer regions. We find more socially connected region-pairs to have more passenger train trips between them, even after controlling for distance and travel time. We also find that regions with a higher share of connections to other countries have higher rates of trust in the E.U. and lower rates of voting for anti-E.U. political parties.

Keywords: social connectedness, Europe, homophily, border effects, migration

JEL Classification: D720, J610, O520, R230, Z130

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Michael and Kuchler, Theresa and Russel, Dominic and State, Bogdan and Stroebel, Johannes, The Determinants and Effects of Social Connectedness in Europe (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8310, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3618834

Michael Bailey (Contact Author)

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Theresa Kuchler

New York University (NYU) ( email )

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Dominic Russel

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

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Bogdan State

Facebook ( email )

1601 S. California Ave.
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Johannes Stroebel

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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United Kingdom

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