Preferences, Identity, and Competition: Predicting Tie Strength from Demographic Data

This research examines the combined influence of three causal mechanisms shaping interpersonal dynamics

Ray Reagans

2005

Scholarcy highlights

  • This research examines the combined influence of three causal mechanisms shaping interpersonal dynamics
  • More recent explanations have highlighted the important role of identification and competition
  • Identification increases the tendency for strong ties to develop among similar people, while competition reduces that tendency
  • I argue that tie strength is a function of all three mechanisms: a baseline level of interpersonal attraction, a positive identification effect, and a negative competition adjustment
  • Identification and competition vary with the number of people sharing the focal attribute to define a predictable association between sharing the focal attribute and the strength of a network connection
  • The implications of the findings are discussed for homophily research in particular and demography research in general

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