Social Ties as Predictors of Economic Development

  • Buster O. HolzbauerEmail author
  • Boleslaw K. Szymanski
  • Tommy Nguyen
  • Alex Pentland
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9564)


A social network is not only a system of connections or relationships, but pathways along which ideas from various communities may flow. Here we show that the economic development of U.S. states may be predicted by using quantitative measures of their social tie network structure derived from location-based social media. We find that long ties, defined here as ties between people in different states, are strongly correlated with economic development in the US states from 2009–2012 in terms of GDP, patents, and number of startups. In contrast, within-state ties are much less predictive of economic development. Our results suggest that such long ties support innovation by enabling more effective idea flow.


Community Detection Idea Flow Economic Sociology Wealth Creation Call Detail Record 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Buster O. Holzbauer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Boleslaw K. Szymanski
    • 1
  • Tommy Nguyen
    • 1
  • Alex Pentland
    • 2
  1. 1.Social Cognitive Network Academic Research Center (SCNARC)Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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