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date: 04 December 2020

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.

Keywords: small-world problem, network science, social search, social networks

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