NBER

David Marmaros

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2005How Do Friendships Form?
with Bruce Sacerdote: w11530
We examine how people form social networks among their peers. We use a unique dataset that tells us the volume of email between any two people in the sample. The data are from students and recent graduates of Dartmouth College. First year students interact with peers in their immediate proximity and form long term friendships with a subset of these people. This result is consistent with a model in which the expected value of interacting with an unknown person is low (making traveling solely to meet new people unlikely), while the benefits from interacting with the same person repeatedly are high. Geographic proximity and race are greater determinants of social interaction than are common interests, majors, or family background. Two randomly chosen white students interact three times more o...

Published: Sacerdote, Bruce and David Marmaros. "How Do Friendships Form?" The Quarterly Journal of Economics 121, 1 (Feb 2006): 79-119. citation courtesy of

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