Thursday, August 11, 2016

Matt Jackson, profiled in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Matt Jackson in the PNAS: Profile of Matthew O. Jackson

Here's the 'Extract' (the full article seems to be gated but this gives you the idea):

During a lunchtime chat in 1993, Matthew Jackson first became interested in social and economic networks. Jackson and a colleague were discussing how power depends on networks of relationships. As an economist, Jackson had always been interested in modeling and analyzing social interactions and human decision-making. Soon, he and his colleague followed up on their lunchtime discussion by building game theoretic models of how people choose to form relationships (1). “Once I started getting interested in the subject, there were lots of different angles on it that became interesting, and I just started working on it more and more,” he says.
Jackson, the William D. Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University, has spent most of his distinguished career studying networks and game theory. He has studied how networks form in varied settings, including research on the root of racial biases in high school friendships and how microfinance spreads in rural Indian villages (23). Jackson’s research has illuminated the role of networks in influencing access to jobs and information (4). “Understanding networks can really help us understand a lot of persistence in inequality and differences across groups in labor markets,” he says. More recently, Jackson has examined why nations go to war (5) and how social structure affects beliefs (6). For his many contributions to the field, Jackson was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015.

Role of Social and Economic Networks

During the course of Jackson’s career, social and economic networks have become a prominent focus of study for economists. Through the work of Jackson and others, it has become clear that understanding networks has wide-ranging applications.
“One area in which it has become obvious to people that networks of interactions matter lately is understanding financial …

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