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The impact of individual differences on network relations

Social exclusion and inequality in productive exchange and coordination games
PhD ceremony:Mr E.M. (Manuel) Muñoz Herrera
When:February 05, 2015
Supervisors:R.P.M. (Rafael) Wittek, Prof Dr, A. (Andreas) Flache, Prof Dr
Co-supervisor:dr. J. (Jacob) Dijkstra
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
The impact of individual differences on network relations

Social networks play the role of promoting the goals, which actors pursue. It is likely that individual decisions about relationships and behavior lead to selective choices about interaction partners, given who they are, resulting in the inclusion of some actors and the exclusion of others. Furthermore, this can result in differentiated access to benefits and opportunities, leading to inequality in the benefits that the included actors have compared to the benefits accrued by the excluded actors. In accordance, this dissertation has studied the emergence of patterns of relationships, exclusion, and unequal opportunities to access benefits, as a consequence of the micro-processes between heterogeneous actors, by addressing the conditions under which differences in individuals characteristics between people lead to social exclusion.

We have focused on two types of settings in which individual differences play a fundamental role in the emergence of relational and behavioral patterns: productive exchanges and coordination games. For each setting we have considered what the essential individual characteristic is that can help explain patterns of relationships and motivate choices of inclusion/exclusion between actors. In both settings the choices actors make imply the natural constraint that resources and opportunities are scarce. The result is that some actors will be excluded by others. We have particularly studied these choices in the two settings mentioned above. In the following sections we discuss the main results of our studies.