Reading Group's Schedule of Winter/Spring 2016



02.26.: From neighbors to school friends? How adolescents’ place of residence relates to same-ethnic school friendships (Hanno Kruse, Sanne Smith, Frank van Tubergen, Ineke Maas)

Abstract: This study examines to what extent adolescents’ place of residence is related to the opportunities and the preferences to befriend same-ethnic classmates. Analyzing 3345 students within 158 German and Dutch school classes, we find that sharing a neighborhood provides additional meeting opportunities to become friends in class as adolescents are likely to befriend classmates who live nearby them or who live nearby a friend of them (propinquity mechanism). However, this hardly explains why adolescent friendship networks in school classes tend to be ethnically homogeneous. Also, we find no convincing evidence that an adolescent’s preference for same-ethnic friends in class varies with the share of outgroup members in his/her neighborhood (exposure mechanism).



Abstract: This paper reports the findings from an analysis of the ethnic identification choices of adolescents in Hungary. Using a representative panel survey of adolescents in Hungary we test the hypothesis that poverty shapes how adolescents identify and conditions the transmission of identification in families. Our results indicate that Roma identification is part of dual Roma and Hungarian identification and there is substantial variation in identification both across generations and for respaondents across survey waves. We find that children of mixed-ethnic families are more likely identify themselves as Roma in poor families than in more affluent ones. Our longitudinal analyses indicate that changes in economic hardship are statistically significantly associated with changes in ethnic identification, but the estimated magnitudes are modest.


03.11: Narcissism and Social Networking Web Sites (Laura E. Buffardi and W. Keith Campbell
Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2008 34: 1303 originally published online 3 July 2008 DOI: 10.1177/0146167208320061)

Abstract: The present research examined how narcissism is manifested on a social networking Web site (i.e., Narcissistic personality self-reports were collected from social networking Web page own- ers. Then their Web pages were coded for both objective and subjective content features. Finally, strangers viewed the Web pages and rated their impression of the owner on agentic traits, communal traits, and narcis- sism. Narcissism predicted (a) higher levels of social activity in the online community and (b) more self- promoting content in several aspects of the social networking Web pages. Strangers who viewed the Web pages judged more narcissistic Web page owners to be more narcissistic. Finally, mediational analyses revealed several Web page content features that were influential in raters’ narcissistic impressions of the owners, includ- ing quantity of social interaction, main photo self- promotion, and main photo attractiveness. Implications of the expression of narcissism in social networking communities are discussed.


03.18: Research note: The consequences of different methods for handling missing network data in stochastic actor based models (John R. Hippa, b, , , Cheng Wangc, Carter T. Buttsb, d, e, Rupa Josef, Cynthia M. Lakonc)

Abstract: Although stochastic actor-based models (e.g., as implemented in the SIENA software program) are growing in popularity as a technique for estimating longitudinal network data, a relatively understudied issue is the consequence of missing network data for longitudinal analysis. We explore this issue in our research note by utilizing data from four schools in an existing dataset (the AddHealth dataset) over three time points, assessing the substantive consequences of using four different strategies for addressing missing network data. The results indicate that whereas some measures in such models are estimated relatively robustly regardless of the strategy chosen for addressing missing network data, some of the substantive conclusions will differ based on the missing data strategy chosen. These results have important implications for this burgeoning applied research area, implying that researchers should more carefully consider how they address missing data when estimating such models.


04.01 The development of adolescents’ friendships and antipathies: A longitudinal multivariate network test of balance theory (J. Ashwin Rambaran, Jan Kornelis Dijkstra, Anke Munniksma, Antonius H.N. Cillessen)

Abstract: We examined the interplay between friendship (best friend) and antipathy (dislike) relationships among adolescents (N = 480; 11–14 years) in two US middle schools over three years (grades 6, 7, and 8). Using longitudinal multivariate network analysis (RSiena), the effects of friendships on antipathies and vice versa were tested, while structural network effects (e.g., density, reciprocity, and transitivity) and indi- vidual (age, gender, and ethnicity) and behavioral (prosocial and antisocial behavior) dispositions were controlled for. Based on (structural) balance theory, it was expected that friendships would be formed or maintained when two adolescents disliked the same person (shared enemy hypothesis), that friends would tend to agree on whom they disliked (friends’ agreement hypothesis), that adolescents would tend to dislike the friends of those they disliked (reinforced animosity hypothesis), and, finally, that they would become or stay friends with dislikes of dislikes (enemy’s enemy hypothesis). Support was found for the first three hypotheses, and partially for the fourth hypothesis. Results are discussed in light of adolescents’ peer relationships.


04.08.: Rand, D. G., S. Arbesman, and N. A. Christakis (2011). Dynamic social networks promote cooperation in experiments with humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (48), 19193–19198.

Abstract: Human populations are both highly cooperative and highly organized. Human interactions are not random but rather are structured in social networks. Importantly, ties in these networks often are dynamic, changing in response to the behavior of one's social partners. This dynamic structure permits an important form of conditional action that has been explored theoretically but has received little empirical attention: People can respond to the cooperation and defection of those around them by making or breaking network links. Here, we present experimental evidence of the power of using strategic link formation and dissolution, and the network modification it entails, to stabilize cooperation in sizable groups. Our experiments explore large-scale cooperation, where subjects’ cooperative actions are equally beneficial to all those with whom they interact. Consistent with previous research, we find that cooperation decays over time when social networks are shuffled randomly every round or are fixed across all rounds. We also find that, when networks are dynamic but are updated only infrequently, cooperation again fails. However, when subjects can update their network connections frequently, we see a qualitatively different outcome: Cooperation is maintained at a high level through network rewiring. Subjects preferentially break links with defectors and form new links with cooperators, creating an incentive to cooperate and leading to substantial changes in network structure. Our experiments confirm the predictions of a set of evolutionary game theoretic models and demonstrate the important role that dynamic social networks can play in supporting large-scale human cooperation.


04.15.: Adjusting Your Dreams? The Effect of School and Peers on Dropout Behaviour (Dominique Goux Marc Gurgand Eric Maurin)

Abstract: At the end of middle school, many low achieving students have to abandon hope of getting into selective high-school programs, which may be a source of disappointment and eventually lead them to dropout from high-school. Based on a randomized controlled trial, this paper shows that low-achieving students’ aspirations can be made more realistic through a series of meetings facilitated by the school principals and that more realistic aspirations are followed by a significant reduction in grade repetition and high-school dropout. Building on detailed information on friendship networks within classes, we also find evidence that improved outcomes in treated classes encompass improved social interactions between low achieving students and their high achieving classmates. or


04.22.: Marin, A. (2012). Don’t mention it: Why people don’t share job information, when they do, and why it matters. Social Networks, 34(2), 181-192

Abstract: Network-based job search is especially likely to foster workplace segregation and limit status attainment when information flows through homophilous ties. This paper takes the perspective of information holders and examines how the use of strong versus weak ties – which tend to be homophilous and heterophilous, respectively – differs with characteristics of labour markets in which jobs are located. Using in-depth interviews with entry-level white collar workers I show that information holders with opportunities to mention specific jobs to specific people do so only 27% of the time. Because they hesitate to share information if they are uncertain the information is specifically sought, information flows more commonly to strong ties, whose career goals are more likely to be known. Information is more likely to be shared with weak ties if it concerns occupations for which one may be specifically credentialed, since receiving relevant training serves as signal of interest in such jobs. These finding suggest that the homophily of referrals and their inequality-generating effects may vary across occupations.


05.06.: Benard, Stephen and Robb Willer. 2007. “A Wealth and Status-Based Model of Residential Segregation.” Journal of Mathematical Sociology 31: 149-174.

Abstract: We extend the classic “Schelling model” (1971 1978) to incorporate the wealth and status of agents and the desirability and affordability of residences. We analyze the effects of 1) the degree of the status-wealth correlation, and 2) the extent to which the wealth of residents shapes the affordability of residences, on levels of status and wealth segregation. Both factors generally exert a positive effect on both forms of segregation and interact to produce higher levels of segregation. The greater the correlation between status and wealth, the more the agents tend to segregate, either due to choice (for the wealthy and high status) or exclusion (for the poor and low status). We also find that housing price endogeneity is a precondition for status segregation.


05.13.: Disentangling the relation between young immigrants’ host country identification and their friendships with natives (Lars Leszczensky, Tobias H. Stark, Andreas Flache, Anke Munniksma)

Abstract: Immigrants who strongly identify with the host country have more native friends than immigrants with weaker host country identification. However, the mechanisms underlying this correlation are not well understood. Immigrants with strong host country identification might have stronger preferences for native friends, or they might be more often chosen as friends by natives. In turn, having native friends or friends with strong host country identification might increase immigrants’ host country identification. Using longitudinal network data of 18 Dutch school classes, we test these hypotheses with stochastic actor-oriented models. We find that immigrants’ host country identification affects friendship selections of natives but not of immigrants. We find no evidence of social influence processes.


05.20.: Richard M. Carpiano*, Lisa M. Fitterer : Questions of trust in health research on social capital: What aspects of personal network social capital do they measure?, Social Science & Medicine (116) September 2014, Pages 225–234

Abstract: Health research on personal social capital has often utilized measures of respondents’ perceived trust of others as either a proxy for one’s social capital in the absence of more focused measures or as a subjective component of social capital. Little empirical work has evaluated the validity of such practices. We test the construct validity of two trust measures used commonly in health research on social capitaldgeneralized trust and trust of neighborsdwith respect to measures of people’s general network-, organization-, family-, friend-, and neighborhood-based social capital and the extent to which these two trust measures are associated with self-rated general health and mental health when social capital measures are included in the same models. Analyses of 2008 Canadian General Social Survey data (response rate 57.3%) indicate that generalized trust and trust of neighbors are both positively yet modestly associated with measures of several domains of network-based social capital. Both trust measures are positively associated with general and mental health, but these associations remain robust after adjusting for social capital measures. Our findings suggest that (a) trust is conceptually distinct from social capital, (b) trust measures are inadequate proxies for actual personal social networks, and (c) trust measures may only be capturing psychological aspects relevant to but not indicative of social capital. Though links between perceived trust and health deserve study, health research on social capital needs to utilize measures of respondents’ actual social networks and their inherent resources.


05.27.: Manuel Fischer, Pascal Sciarini: Unpacking reputational power: Intended and unintended determinants of the assessment of actors’ power, , Social Networks 42 (2015) 60–71

Abstract: The idea behind the reputational measure for assessing power of political actors is that actors involved in a decision-making process have the best view of their fellows’ power. There has been, however, no systematic examination of why actors consider other actors as powerful. Consequently, it is unclear whether reputational power measures what it ought to. The paper analyzes the determinants of power attribution and distinguishes intended from unintended determinants in a data-set of power assessment covering 10 political decision-making processes in Switzerland. Results are overall reassuring, but nevertheless point toward self-promotion or misperception biases, as informants systematically attribute more power to actors with whom they collaborate.


06.03.: Sanne Smith, Frank Van Tubergen, Ineke Maas, Daniel A. McFarland: Ethnic Composition and Friendship Segregation: Differential Effects for Adolescent Natives and Immigrants, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY 121(4):1223-1272 · JANUARY 2016

Abstract: Ethnically diverse settings provide opportunities for interethnic friend- ship but can also increase the preference for same-ethnic friendship. Therefore, same-ethnic friendship preferences, or ethnic homophily, can work at cross-purposes with policy recommendations to diversify eth- nic representation in social settings. In order to effectively overcome ethnic segregation, we need to identify those factors within diverse settings that exacerbate the tendency toward ethnic homophily. Using unique data and multiple network analyses, the authors examine 529 adolescent friendship networks in English, German, Dutch, and Swed- ish schools and find that the ethnic composition of school classes relates differently to immigrant and native homophily. Immigrant homophily disproportionately increases as immigrants see more same-ethnic peers, and friendship density among natives has no effect on this. By contrast, native homophily remains relatively low until natives see dense groups of immigrants. The authors’ results suggest that theories of interethnic competition and contact opportunities apply differently to ethnic major- ity and minority groups.


06.10.: Matthew E. Brashearsa, Eric Quintane :The microstructures of network recall: How social networks are encoded and represented in human memory, Social Networks 41 (2015) 113–126

Abstract: A growing number of studies indicate that aspects of psychology and cognition influence network structure, but much remains to be learned about how network information is stored and retrieved from memory. Are networks recalled as dyads, as triads, or more generally as sub-groups? We employ an experimental design coupled with exponential random graph models to address this issue. We find that respondents flexibly encode social information as triads or groups, depending on the network, but not as dyads. This supports prior research showing that networks are stored using “compression heuristics”, but also provides evidence of cognitive flexibility in the process of encoding relational information.