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Faculty of Economics

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Dessi, R., Gallo, E. and Goyal, S.

Network Cognition

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization

Abstract: We study individual ability to memorize and recall information about friendship networks using a combination of experiments and survey-based data. In the experiment subjects are shown a network, in which their location is exogenously assigned, and they are then asked questions about the network after it disappears. We find that subjects exhibit three main cognitive biases: (i) they underestimate the mean degree compared to the actual network; (ii) they overestimate the number of rare degrees; (iii) they underestimate the number of frequent degrees. We then analyze survey data from two ‘real’ friendship networks from a Silicon Valley firm and from a University Research Center. We find, somewhat remarkably, that individuals in these real networks also exhibit these biases.

Keywords: Networks; Cognition; Degree distributions; Biases

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Cambridge Working Paper in Economics Version of Paper: Network Cognition, Dessi, R., Gallo, E. and Goyal, S., (2014)

Papers and Publications

Recent Publications

Fruehwirth, J., Iyer, S. and Zhang, A. Religion and Depression in Adolescence Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming [2019]

Jochmans, K., and Weidner, M. Fixed-Effect Regressions on Network Data Econometrica, forthcoming [2019]

Onatski, A. and Wang, C. Alternative Asymptotics for Cointegration Tests in Large VARs Econometrica, forthcoming [2018]