I have been learning a lot about networks lately. Jackson seems to be the guy when it comes to Networks and Economics. Let me share with you a bit of what I have been working on and learning about.
So, my general idea is that interactions between people actually matter for our decision making. For example, if you have a bunch of friends who work in the Medicine industry, you might start making better decisions in terms of your own health, and people around you will benefit from that and actually learn. The way in which information flows is not trivial, and I consider such phenomena to be the most significant structural change for our economy since the Industrial Revolution. That is how I stumbled upon networks.
I am not still fully convinced that Networks is the best environment to tackle my broader question, which is precisely how decisions shape and influence others, but it is certainly the most natural, even if just by the way the question is framed. Still, I have been reading some great papers by Matthew Jackson on how this area of knowledge, which is actually borrowed from sociology, it seems, has been developing. My main finding, or rather his main finding, is that currently there has been an exponential increase in the amount of network research, but there are a couple of main questions which remain fertile ground. To name a few (in the end this is a blog post, not a paper), I share the following:
First, there is little understanding still on how diffusion and social learning are manipulated and influenced from outside of the networks in rapidly evolving technologies.
Second, dynamic networks are still fertile ground.
Third, the tools and models are yet to be perfected.
Fourth, networks co-evolve, and friends influence friends, and behaviours influence behaviours.
Fifth, people interact in different ways at once.
As you see, all these are interesting questions. I hope to approximate a neat answer to at least one of them with my third year paper. I will keep you posted!
Also, last week I was hiking, I share with you a beautiful picture. The place is called Dexcani Alto.