A Simple Model of Homophily in Social Networks

36 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2010 Last revised: 4 May 2013

See all articles by Sergio Currarini

Sergio Currarini

University of Leicester - Department of Economics; Ca Foscari University of Venice - Dipartimento di Economia

Fernando Vega-Redondo

Universidad de Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis

Date Written: April 15, 2013

Abstract

Biases in meeting opportunities have been recently shown to play a key role for the emergence of homophily in social networks (see Currarini, Jackson and Pin 2009). The aim of this paper is to provide a "simple" micro-foundation of these biases in a model where the size and type-composition of the meeting pools are shaped by agents' socialization decisions. In particular, agents either inbreed (direct search only to similar types) or outbreed (direct search to population at large). When outbreeding is costly, this is shown to induce stark equilibrium behavior of a threshold type: agents ``inbreed'' (i.e. mostly meet their own type) if, and only if, their group is above certain size. We show that this threshold equilibrium generates patterns of in-group and cross-group ties that are consistent with empirical evidence of homophily in two paradigmatic instances: high school friendships and interethnic marriages.

Keywords: Homophily, search, social networks, segregation

JEL Classification: D7, D71, D85, Z13

Suggested Citation

Currarini, Sergio and Vega-Redondo, Fernando, A Simple Model of Homophily in Social Networks (April 15, 2013). University Ca' Foscari of Venice, Dept. of Economics Research Paper Series No. 24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1697503 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1697503

Sergio Currarini (Contact Author)

University of Leicester - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Leicester LE1 7RH, Leicestershire LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Dipartimento di Economia ( email )

Cannaregio 873
Venice, 30121
Italy

Fernando Vega-Redondo

Universidad de Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis ( email )

Apdo. Correos, 99
03080 Alicante
Spain
+34 96 590 3616 (Phone)
+34 96 590 3898 (Fax)

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