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Networks Working Group: Anja Prummer

When Oct 24, 2013
from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Marshall Room
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Presenter: Anja Prummer

Paper: Prummer, Siedlarek, Opinion Leaders in Influence Networks-An Application to the Integration of Immigrants


We offer a novel explanation for differences in the integration outcomes of immigrant communities through a model which emphasizes the role of group leaders. Group leaders in our models are individuals or organisations that exert social influence in the community, an example being religious organisations. We present a model of integration with distinct channels for social influence and skill acquisition. Skill acquisition leads to higher income, but reduces identification with the immigrant group. A lower group identity in turn makes skill acquisition less costly. Group leaders benefit both from their group maintaining a distinct identity as well as achieving economic success. In the long run, full integration is achieved only with flexible leaders, which themselves adapt over time. In the presence of rigid leaders that do not adopt, integration can remain incomplete, with long-run integration levels higher for individuals of higher ability. We show that there are incentives for leaders to position themselves as rigid and prevent the integration of their community despite this limiting the economic success of their group members. Additionally, we demonstrate how connections among group members can amplify or reduce the influence of group leaders.