Social networks and prosperous communities
June 19th, 2010

The Santa Fe Institute reports interesting discoveries from one of its studies of Emergence, Organization & Dynamics of Living Systems. From their report titled It’s Who You Know:

Employing the mathematics of network analysis, a team of researchers including SFI Omidyar Fellow Nathan Eagle found that communities in which people have more diverse social networks, at least as gauged by their phone calls, also tend to be more prosperous.

Longstanding social theory suggests that the extent of relationships among members of a community affects individuals’ well-being. And previous research has hinted that individuals with more diverse social networks tend to find jobs more easily, earn higher salaries, and have more success as entrepreneurs. But is there a similar link between the diversity of social connections and the prosperity of a whole community? . . .

For each person’s phone within an exchange, the researchers then calculated two measures of diversity of contacts. Finally, they looked for a correlation between their measures of prosperity and diversity. They found that communities registering more social diversity also tended to be more prosperous. . . .

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