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Reciprocity in a social network: evidence from a natural field experiment

Luis Reyes ()

Economics Bulletin, 2018, vol. 38, issue 2, 672-680

Abstract: I use a natural field experiment to test for the presence of reciprocity in the context of a social network. Over the course of a year, I randomly sent birthday greetings to the online friends of a Facebook user. I find that sending a birthday greeting to a Facebook friend causes an increase of 50 percent in the probability that the friend will reciprocate when the birthday of the sender arrives. I also find that the tendency to reciprocate is decreasing in time. The likelihood that a birthday congratulation will be reciprocated increases by almost three times as much when the birthday of the sender is one month away than when it is six months away.

Keywords: Reciprocity; networks; Facebook; natural field experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Z1 D8 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-04-09
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