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Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in Networks and Diffusion Processes

Wed May 18th 2016, 1:20pm
SCANCOR Conference Room (CERAS 123)
Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in Networks and Diffusion Processes

Matt Jackson (Economics)

Pizza and beverages will be provided.


How can we identify the most influential nodes in a network for initiating diffusion? Are people able to easily identify those people in their communities who are best at spreading information, and if so How?    Using theory and recent data, we examine these questions and see how the structure of social networks affects information transmission ranging from gossip to the diffusion of new products.   In particular, a model of diffusion is used to define centrality and shown to nest other measures of centrality as special cases.  Then it is shown that by tracking gossip within a network, nodes can easily learn to rank the centrality of other nodes without knowing anything about the network itself.  The theoretical predictions are consistent with field experiments.


Matthew O. Jackson is the William D. Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University, an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute, and a fellow of CIFAR. Jackson's research interests include game theory, microeconomic theory, and the study of social and economic networks, on which he has published many articles and the book Social and Economic Networks. He has written on the strategic formation of networks, homophily, learning and diffusion in social networks, games on networks, informal risk-sharing, alliance and trade networks, financial contagions, and the statistical modeling of networks. Jackson also teaches an online course on networks and co-teaches two others on game theory. He is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, and an Economic Theory Fellow.