Conformism and self-selection in social networks

Authors: Boucher, Vincent
Abstract: I present a model of conformism in social networks that incorporates both peer effects and self-selection. I show that conformism has positive social value and that social welfare can be bounded by network polarization and connectivity measures. I apply the model to empirical data on high school students’ participation in extracurricular activities. I find that the local effect of conformism (i.e. the endogenous peer effect for a fixed network structure) ranges from 7.5% to 45%, depending on the number of peers that an individual has. Simulations show that the optimal policies of an inequality-averse policymaker change depending on a school’s enrollment. Small schools should encourage shy students to interact more with other students, while large schools should focus on promoting role models within the school.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 7 March 2016
Open Access Date: 4 April 2018
Document version: AM
This document was published in: Journal of public economics, Vol. 136, 30–44 (2016)
Elsevier Science
Alternative version: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.02.005
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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