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Macrostructure and microstructure: Evidence from overlapping village networks in The Gambia

Jaimovich, Dany (2011): Macrostructure and microstructure: Evidence from overlapping village networks in The Gambia.

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Abstract

Using a unique dataset collected in 60 Gambian villages, I study six social and economic networks: (i) land exchange, (ii) labor exchange, (iii) tool and fertilizer exchange, (iv) credit exchange, (v) matrimonial relationships and (vi) kinship relationships. A variety of measures gleaned from the Social Network Analysis (SNA) literature are used to study how features of the networks at different levels of disaggregation are related to various aspects of economic development. In particular, I focus on the role of ethnic fragmentation and income inequality. Analyzing the network macrostructure I find that village-level income inequality plays a role in increasing interactions, while a measure of ethnic fragmentation is only related to land exchange. At a more disaggregated level, household's centrality seems to be determined by traditional roles and other characteristics, including ethnicity and, to a lesser extent, relative income in the village. At the dyadic level, traditional roles, family ties and dierences in endowments are better predictors of link formation than income and ethnicity.

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