Strong Ties in a Small World

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 2006-008/1

34 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2006

See all articles by Marco van der Leij

Marco van der Leij

CeNDEF, University of Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute; De Nederlandsche Bank - Research Department

Sanjeev Goyal

University of Cambridge

Date Written: January 2006

Abstract

In this paper we test the celebrated "Strength of weak ties" theory of Granovetter (1973). We test two hypotheses on the network structure in a data set of collaborating economists. While we find support for the hypothesis of transitivity of strong ties, we reject the hypothesis that weak ties reduce distance more than strong ties do. We relate this surprising result to two different views of society. Whereas the classical view has been that society consists of different communities with strong ties within communities and weak ties between, the community of economic researchers has an interlinked star structure with strong ties between the stars. In such a world, strong ties are more important than weak ties.

Keywords: network structure, social network, social capital, economic sociology, coauthorship, research, collaboration

JEL Classification: A14, Z13

Suggested Citation

van der Leij, Marco Juri and Goyal, Sanjeev, Strong Ties in a Small World (January 2006). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 2006-008/1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=875350 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.875350

Marco Juri van der Leij (Contact Author)

CeNDEF, University of Amsterdam ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, NL-1018WB
Netherlands
+31 20 525 7356 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://home.staff.uva.nl/m.j.vanderleij

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

De Nederlandsche Bank - Research Department ( email )

P.O. Box 98
1000 AB Amsterdam
Netherlands

Sanjeev Goyal

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

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