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Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 8;6:18727. doi: 10.1038/srep18727.

Skill complementarity enhances heterophily in collaboration networks.

Xie WJ1,2,3, Li MX2,3, Jiang ZQ1,4, Tan QZ5, Podobnik B6,7,8,9,10, Zhou WX1,3,4, Stanley HE6.

Author information

1
School of Business, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China.
2
Postdoctoral Research Station, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China.
3
Departmenent of Mathematics, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China.
4
Research Center for Econophysics, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China.
5
Shanda Games Ltd., 690 Bibo Road, Shanghai 201203, China.
6
Center for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
7
Zagreb School of Economics and Management, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.
8
Luxembourg School of Business, Luxembourg.
9
Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Rijeka, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia.
10
Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Abstract

Much empirical evidence shows that individuals usually exhibit significant homophily in social networks. We demonstrate, however, skill complementarity enhances heterophily in the formation of collaboration networks, where people prefer to forge social ties with people who have professions different from their own. We construct a model to quantify the heterophily by assuming that individuals choose collaborators to maximize utility. Using a huge database of online societies, we find evidence of heterophily in collaboration networks. The results of model calibration confirm the presence of heterophily. Both empirical analysis and model calibration show that the heterophilous feature is persistent along the evolution of online societies. Furthermore, the degree of skill complementarity is positively correlated with their production output. Our work sheds new light on the scientific research utility of virtual worlds for studying human behaviors in complex socioeconomic systems.

PMID:
26743687
PMCID:
PMC4705466
DOI:
10.1038/srep18727
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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