Economic and Social Networks

Course Description: 


Full description: 

Social networks affect many economic transactions. They transmit information about job opportunities, affect the trade of goods and services, influence how diseases spread, which products we buy, how we vote, whether we become criminals, which technologies we adopt. They also create trust and provide access to financial and other resources. This course reviews some current research on social networks in economics. We will explore both theoretical models and their applications to development and labor economics. The course begins with an overview of basic facts and tools. We will then cover network formation, peer effects and the social multiplier, social capital and trust, information aggregation in networks, social learning, trade in networks, technology diffusion, job search, and other topics. One goal of the course is to identify new research questions for students.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students will have: (1) Knowledge and understanding of the current research on the economics of social networks. (2) The ability to read research papers in this field. (3) The ability to present and critically discuss research

papers in this field. (4) Sufficient understanding of open issues to formulate a new research question in this field.

Final. The final exam is on December 16, 9am-12pm, FT 509.

Texts. The textbook for the course is

Matthew O. Jackson (2008) Social and Economic Networks, Princeton University Press, link

For many classes, lecture notes will also be made available.


Student presentations, homeworks and a final exam. Small groups of students will be assigned a topic, and several lectures will consist entirely of student presentations. There will also be regular homework assignments. These will not be graded, but we will provide solutions.

Your course grade will be determined as follows:

Student presentation


Final exam       



This course is intended for second-year MA and for PhD students, and knowledge of MA level microeconomics and econometrics is assumed.

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