- Series Information
- The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Networks
- List of Contributors
- Introduction to the Handbook
- Networks: A Paradigm Shift for Economics?
- Networks in Economics: A Perspective on the Literature
- The Past and Future of Network Analysis in Economics
- Games Played on Networks
- Repeated Games and Networks
- Stochastic Network Formation and Homophily
- Network Formation Games
- Links and Actions in Interplay
- Conflict and Networks
- Key Players
- Some Challenges in the Empirics of the Effects of Networks
- Econometrics of Network Formation
- Small-World Networks
- Networked Experiments
- Field Experiments, Social Networks, and Development
- Networks in the Laboratory
- Diffusion in Networks
- Learning in Social Networks
- Financial Contagion in Networks
- Networks, Shocks, and Systemic Risk
- Informal Transfers in Social Networks
- Community Networks and Migration
- Social Networks and the Labor Market
- Attention in Organizations
- Models of Bilateral Trade in Networks
- Strategic Models of Intermediation Networks
- Networks in International Trade
- Targeting and Pricing in Social Networks
- Managing Social Interactions
- Economic Features of the Internet and Network Neutrality
Abstract and Keywords
The “small-world hypothesis” expresses the idea that every individual in a given population can reach every other via some “short” chain of intermediaries. This claim, however, has two related but distinct interpretations, which the author labels the “topological” and “algorithmic” small-world hypotheses: the former specifies only that two individuals in a large network be connected by a short path, whereas the latter requires in addition that the individuals in question be able to find such a path. In addition to defining both topological and algorithmic versions of the small-world hypothesis, the chapter briefly reviews the associated theoretical literature, as well as empirical evidence associated with each. Finally, the chapter concludes with some brief remarks about the economic implications of small-world properties as they arise in social and organizational networks.
Duncan J. Watts is a principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, where he directs the Human Social Dynamics group. He is also an adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University, an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute, and an associate member of Nuffield College, University of Oxford. His research interests include the structure and evolution of social networks, the origins and dynamics of social influence, and the nature of distributed ‘social’ search. He is the author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003) and Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999). He holds a B.Sc. In physics from the University of South Wales and a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from Cornell University.
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