Birds of moderately different feathers: Bandwagon dynamics and the threshold heterogeneity of network neighbors

  • Chiang Y
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Abstract

This paper investigates bandwagon dynamics in social networks, using an extension of Granovetter's (1978) threshold model. The focus is on the pattern of social ties connecting actors with different participation thresholds. A benchmark model, in which actors' thresholds are similar to their neighbors' thresholds, is built from the principle of homophily. Computational experiments show that participation levels increase when network structure departs from pure homophily, such that actors have new neighbors with discrepant thresholds. Further increasing the heterogeneity of network neighbors causes the bandwagon effects to wane, however, suggesting that bandwagon dynamics are maximized when there is a balance of heterogeneity and homogeneity in social networks. This principle is consistent with insights from several empirical studies and consistent with the conclusions of other formal models.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Bandwagon
  • Heterogeneity
  • Interdependence
  • Network
  • Simulation
  • Threshold

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Authors

  • Yen Sheng Chiang

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