Fall 2015 - 60130 - PA393L - Advanced Policy Economics

Social and Information Networks

Networks are ubiquitous in the natural, social, and technical worlds. What is the nature of these networks? How to characterize and understand them? How do information and technology flow over networks? How does the structure of the underlying networks mediate flow of information among a social group? What role do networks play in shaping outcomes in the social and economic worlds? Concepts and methods to formulate, quantify, and analyze these questions will be discussed. This course is intended for first and second year Masters students and Ph.D. students.

Topics to be covered include: Graphs and networks; Individual decision-making (agent-agent interactions) and strategic interactions; Online networks; Population effects and information cascades; Small world networks; Epidemic models; Markets and information; Networks and the structure of social institutions.

Textbook: Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About A Highly Connected World, by David Easley and Jon Kleinberg. The book is available for free at: http://www.cs.cornell.edu/home/kleinber/networks-book/

Additional readings: Relevant material from the textbook for each unit will be augmented with 2-3 additional readings, typically highly accessible and relevant journal articles selected by the instructor.

This class is cross-listed with EER and INF. LBJ is the home department.