Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1192: Urban Interactions

Jun Sung Kim (), Eleonora Patacchini (), Pierre M. Picard () and Yves Zenou ()
Additional contact information
Jun Sung Kim: Monash University, Postal: Australia
Eleonora Patacchini: Cornell University, USA, Postal: EIEF and CEPR
Pierre M. Picard: CREA, University of Luxembourg, Postal: and CORE, University catholique de Louvain, Belgium
Yves Zenou: Monash University, Australia, Postal: and IFN and CEPR

Abstract: This paper studies social-tie formation when individuals care about the geographical location of other individuals. In our model, the intensity of social interactions can be chosen at the same time as friends. We characterize the equilibrium in terms of both social interactions and social capital (the value of social interactions offered by each agent) for a general distribution of individuals in the urban geographical space. We show that greater geographical dispersion decreases the incentives to socially interact. We also show that the equilibrium frequency of interactions is lower than the efficient one. Using a unique geo-coded dataset of friendship networks among adolescents in the United States, we estimate the model and validate that agents interact less than the social first best optimum. Our policy analysis suggests that, given the same cost, subsidizing social interactions yields a higher total welfare than subsidizing transportation costs.

Keywords: Urban economics; Social interactions; Social capital; Policies

JEL-codes: R10; R23; Z13

62 pages, November 28, 2017

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