CRASSH Early Career Fellow Dr Edoardo Gallo will be at CRASSH in Michaelmas 2017.
My research examines how the structure of social networks causally affects individual behaviour and economic outcomes using a combination of theory and experiments. In my work to date I have investigated a number of topics including the effectiveness of word-of-mouth learning , individuals’ ability to memorize and recall social network information, the role of rivalry relations in determining unethical behaviour, and the influence of communication networks on trading outcomes. Recently, my focus has been the study of how social network structure determines cooperation. In a recent paper, I investigate how the knowledge individuals have about others’ reputation (reputational knowledge) and the social network structure (social knowledge) determines the emergence and sustenance of cooperative behaviour (this news article gives a non-technical summary of this work). I use the well-known prisoner’s dilemma (PD) game as an abstract representation of some of the essential elements of cooperative behaviour.
During the Fellowship at CRASSH I am planning to further this line of work by investigating how the strength of social network ties matters for the emergence of cooperation. Sociologists have collected ample evidence of an association between high cooperation and strong social ties, but we currently ignore whether this is a causal mechanism and how it operates. In a series of experiments, I plan to investigate this causal link by using a novel design that encapsulates the strength of a tie by relating it to (a scaling factor of) the payoffs of a PD game. This is an abstract representation of social tie strength which captures the high benefits individuals may accrue from it as well as the large downside from the commitment in case the counterparty defects. The design varies both the strength of the tie participants can form and how many levels of tie strength are available in order to isolate the causal role of the strength of social ties in determining cooperation.
Dr. Edoardo Gallo is a University Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics, as well as the Ajit Singh Fellow and the Director of Studies in Economics at Queens' College. He is also a Fellow at the Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance and an Associate Member at Nuffield College (Oxford). He received a D.Phil. and M.Phil. in Economics from the University of Oxford and an A.B. in Physics and Mathematics from Harvard University. His research examines how the structure of social networks causally affects individual behaviour and economic outcomes using a combination of theory and experiments. In his work to date he has investigated a number of topics including the effectiveness of word-of-mouth learning, individuals’ ability to memorize and recall social network information and how the resulting cognitive biases affect network formation, the role of rivalry in determining unethical behaviour, the influence of communication networks on trading outcomes, and how an individual’s position within a social network affects their contribution to teamwork. The objective of his Fellowship at CRASSH is an experimental investigation of how social network structure determines cooperation with a particular emphasis on the exploration of the role played by the strength of social ties in promoting the emergence of cooperative behaviour.