The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Social Networks, Economic Relevance of

  • James Moody
  • Martina Morris
Reference work entry


Social network analysis has a long history in sociology, but interest in this topic has broadened dramatically since 1995. This article reviews the origins and key concepts from the sociological literature on social networks, and outlines the network approach to economic behaviour (see Zuckerman J Econ Lit 46, 545–565, 2003 or White Markets from networks: Socioeconomic models of production. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002 for a broader vision of ‘economic networks’ not covered here due to space limitations). The central themes we trace relate to ‘social embeddedness’ and aggregation – how occupying different positions in complex networks enables and constrains action, as well as the resulting properties of global networks that arise from these actions.


Division of labour Durkheim, E Simmel, G Social balance theory Social networks Trust 

JEL Classifications

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Moody
    • 1
  • Martina Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.