Center Events

Matt Jackson, Stanford: “Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in Networks and Diffusion Processes”

March 3, 2015 | Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in Networks and Diffusion Processes

Matthew O. Jackson, William D. Eberle Professor of Economics, will be giving a lecture on March 3, 2015 at 3PM. Location is Wu and Chen Auditorium, Levine Hall, University of Pennsylvania.

Title:  `Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in Networks and Diffusion Processes”

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 data from rural India.

Bio: Matt Jackson is the William D. Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University where he returned as a faculty member in 2006 after receiving his PhD  in 1988. Professor Jackson is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Guggenheim fellow, a fellow of the Econometric Society, and an Economic Theory fellow of the Society for Advancement of Economic Theory. He was a Co-Editor at Econometrica and Games and Economic Behavior, and formerly served as an associate editor at several other journals including Journal of Economic Theory, Theoretical Economics and Social Choice and Welfare.

Professor Jackson’s research interests span a wide variety of areas within economics and economic theory, including political economy and voting, mechanism design and implementation, auction theory and market design, and learning and cognition. Recently, he is most known for his influential research on social networks and their relationship to economic outcomes.

He has also recently written an influential textbook, “Social and Economic Networks”, teaches a popular MOOC on Networks, and co-teaches a popular MOOC on game theory.