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Keynes Fund


Summary of Project Plan


The impact of network connections on human behaviour has been widely studied over the past twenty years; for an overview of this research see Bramoull´e, Galeotti, and Rogers [2016] and Goyal [2022]. A central insight of this research is that:

The level of an individual’s activity is proportional to their (Bonacich) centrality in the network.

This insight forms the foundation for a large body of applied work ranging across finance, development, macroeconomics, international trade, and industrial organization. This result relies upon reasoning that combines strategic considerations and the topology of the network in intricate ways. It is far from clear if human being embedded in real world networks – that are large and complex – can work through this reasoning. The goal of our project is to experimentally test this prediction.

A number of authors in different disciplines have drawn attention to centrality in shaping human behaviour; for overviews of the work, see Newman [2018], Goyal [2022] and Bloch, Jackson, and Tebaldi [2019]. In economics, interest in the role of centrality may be traced to the seminal paper of Ballester, Calv´o-Armengol, and Zenou [2006]. In recent years, the result has been refined and elaborated upon by a number of authors. In particular, we must mention the work of Bramoull´e, Kranton, and D’amours [2014]; for an overview of the research on games on networks see Bramoulle and Kranton [2016].

Three aspects of the proposal are innovative: one, we will design an experiment on the continuous action game in contrast to most of the literature that studies binary actions and two, we will study large networks with 50 nodes in contrast to most experiments that focus on small groups of 6-20 subjects, three, we will contrast and compare the impact of strategic factors (the move from strategic complements to strategic substitutes, using changes in the sign of a single parameter).

Relation with Goals of the Keynes Fund: We believe that the aims of the proposed research as well as the combination of methods we are proposing are in line with the funding priorities of Keynes Fund for Applied Economics. The central theme in our research is to understand the ways in which human behaviour is affected by network connections. The role of social connections in financial networks has been widely documented and the role of connections between financial institutions in giving rise to large scale contagion has also been widely studied. The theoretical understanding of these phenomena ultimately rests on a theory of human behaviour in networks. Our project aims to test a central theoretical prediction of the theory of strategic behaviour in networks.



Prof. Sanjeev Goyal


Sanjeev Goyal is Professor of Economics, at the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge. His research interests are in Economic Theory, Networks.


Prof. Syngjoo Choi


Syngjoo Choi is Professor at the Department of Economics, Seoul National University. His research interests are in Experimental Economics and Behavioural Economics.


Dr. Frederic Moisan


Frederic Moisan is Assistant Professor, EM Lyon Business School and Research Associate at GATE-LAB, CNRS. His primary research focus is on understanding the nature of social interactions, and how individual behavior can shape the structure of social networks, and induce the emergence of large scale social phenomena.


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