Network Diversity and Economic Development

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Science  21 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5981, pp. 1029-1031
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186605

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Social networks form the backbone of social and economic life. Until recently, however, data have not been available to study the social impact of a national network structure. To that end, we combined the most complete record of a national communication network with national census data on the socioeconomic well-being of communities. These data make possible a population-level investigation of the relation between the structure of social networks and access to socioeconomic opportunity. We find that the diversity of individuals’ relationships is strongly correlated with the economic development of communities.

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