Doctoral Dissertation Research: Social Network Effects on Coordination and Cooperation

Project: Research project

Project Details


In this project the Principal investigators will investigate the social network effects on coordination and cooperation. While most existing work provides insights on the influence of group size on coordination and cooperation, we examine the role of group structure. First we will analyze a laboratory experiment on a coordination game in which each player engages with an exogenously connected ?local? subset of the player population, the pattern of connections defining a social network. The main research question we will address is How does the social network structure affect coordination behavior? We identify sources of influence on coordination from both global network (the density of overall network) and local network (the connectedness of individuals). In our experiment, both full-coordination and no-coordination are pooling equilibria in all laboratory networks, while in one case there is also a separating equilibrium, where players coordinate only if they have an enough number of local social links. In a pilot study we observe nearly complete coordination in denser networks but less so in sparser networks. Via a laboratory public goods game, we will study the impact of social network architecture on cooperation. Our research foci are the fairness and social welfare in equilibria as affected by network configurations. To analyze the data collected from experiments, we shall apply various statistical techniques including nonparametric methods and logit regressions (adjusted to individual heterogeneity).

In terms of broader impacts, this research examines how the social network, which determines ?who plays the game with whom?, affects the outcome of coordination and cooperation. Our results might guide Internet service and platform providers in developing effective online social networks to promote service and products, and assist policy makers in seeking for efficient network layouts to facilitate the spread of goods or activities that are socially beneficial. The products of the proposed study will be made publicly available for research and educational uses at no cost.

Effective start/end date8/1/115/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $8,700.00


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