Social Network Homophily: Identifying New Mechanisms with Applications to Gender and Health
By: David Schaefer, Associate Professor of Sociology, Arizona State University
Abstract: The tendency to associate with similar people (i.e., homophily) is one of the most ubiquitous patterns of human social life. This talk moves beyond structuralist and “preferential” based theories to develop new mechanisms for the emergence of homophily in social networks. I explain how homophily can arise even in the absence of preferences and structural inducements. I demonstrate how statistical network models can help differentiate between these mechanisms, with applications to gender and several health factors (including depression and obesity).