This 2007 book provides a systematic and self-contained account of the fast-developing theory of complex social networks. Social networks are central to the understanding of most socio-economic phenomena in the modern world. The classical approach to studying them relies on a methodology that abstracts from their size and complexity. In contrast, the approach taken in this book keeps complexity at the core, whilst integrating it with the incentive considerations that are preeminent in traditional economic analysis. The treatment starts with a detailed discussion of the basic models that act as 'benchmarks' for the complex-network literature: random networks, small worlds, and scale-free networks, before studying three different forces that underlie almost all network phenomena in social contexts: diffusion, search, and play. Finally, these forces are combined into a unified framework that is brought to bear on the issue of network formation and the coevolution of agents' behaviour and their pattern of interaction.
• Systematic and self-contained account of the modern theory of complex networks • Ideal for economists and other social scientists who want to become familiar with the complex-network literature but lack the technical background • Useful to other scientists who may have the technical background but lack the perspective on the study of social phenomena
1. Introduction; 2. Complex networks: basic theory; 3. Epidemic diffusion; 4. Neighborhood effects in diffusion and play; 5. Searching in social networks; 6. Search, diffusion, and play in coevolving networks; Afterword; Appendix A. Generating functions; Appendix B. The Ising model; Appendix C. Mean-field theory.