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Abstract Social capital—the strength of an individual’s social network and community—has been identified as a potential determinant of outcomes ranging from education to health 1–8 . However, efforts to understand what types of social capital matter for these outcomes have been hindered by a lack of social network data. Here, in the first of a pair of papers 9 , we use data on 21 billion friendships from Facebook to study social capital. We measure and analyse three types of social capital by ZIP (postal) code in the United States: (1) connectedness between different types of people, such as those with low versus high socioeconomic status (SES); (2) social cohesion, such as the extent of cliques in friendship networks; and (3) civic engagement, such as rates of volunteering. These measures vary substantially across areas, but are not highly correlated with each other. We demonstrate the importance of distinguishing these forms of social capital by analysing their associations with economic mobility across areas. The share of high-SES friends among individuals with low SES—which we term economic connectedness—is among the strongest predictors of upward income mobility identified to date 10,11 . Other social capital measures are not strongly associated with economic mobility. Ifmore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2023
Abstract Low levels of social interaction across class lines have generated widespread concern 1–4 and are associated with worse outcomes, such as lower rates of upward income mobility 4–7 . Here we analyse the determinants of cross-class interaction using data from Facebook, building on the analysis in our companion paper 7 . We show that about half of the social disconnection across socioeconomic lines—measured as the difference in the share of high-socioeconomic status (SES) friends between people with low and high SES—is explained by differences in exposure to people with high SES in groups such as schools and religious organizations. The other half is explained by friending bias—the tendency for people with low SES to befriend people with high SES at lower rates even conditional on exposure. Friending bias is shaped by the structure of the groups in which people interact. For example, friending bias is higher in larger and more diverse groups and lower in religious organizations than in schools and workplaces. Distinguishing exposure from friending bias is helpful for identifying interventions to increase cross-SES friendships (economic connectedness). Using fluctuations in the share of students with high SES across high school cohorts, we show that increases in high-SES exposure lead low-SES peoplemore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2023
We provide an overview of the relationship between financial networks and systemic risk. We present a taxonomy of different types of systemic risk, differentiating between direct externalities between financial organizations (e.g., defaults, correlated portfolios, fire sales), and perceptions and feedback effects (e.g., bank runs, credit freezes). We also discuss optimal regulation and bailouts, measurements of systemic risk and financial centrality, choices by banks regarding their portfolios and partnerships, and the changing nature of financial networks.
Regional quarantine policies, in which a portion of a population surrounding infections is locked down, are an important tool to contain disease. However, jurisdictional governments—such as cities, counties, states, and countries—act with minimal coordination across borders. We show that a regional quarantine policy’s effectiveness depends on whether 1) the network of interactions satisfies a growth balance condition, 2) infections have a short delay in detection, and 3) the government has control over and knowledge of the necessary parts of the network (no leakage of behaviors). As these conditions generally fail to be satisfied, especially when interactions cross borders, we show that substantial improvements are possible if governments are outward looking and proactive: triggering quarantines in reaction to neighbors’ infection rates, in some cases even before infections are detected internally. We also show that even a few lax governments—those that wait for nontrivial internal infection rates before quarantining—impose substantial costs on the whole system. Our results illustrate the importance of understanding contagion across policy borders and offer a starting point in designing proactive policies for decentralized jurisdictions.