IDSS Distinguished Seminar Series: Matthew Jackson, Stanford University
November 10, 2015 | 4:00 pm | 32-141

jackson-picture3Title: “Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in a Social Network”

Abstract: 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 extreme special cases.  Then it will be 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 new field experiments.

Bio: Matthew 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 the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). He received his PhD from Stanford University in 1988. Prof. Jackson has been honored with the Social Choice and Welfare Prize, the B.E. Press Arrow Prize for Senior Economists, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has served as co-editor of Games and Economic Behavior, the Review of Economic Design, and Econometrica. Prof. Jackson’s research concerns game theory, microeconomic theory, and the study of social and economic networks.

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