the 6th Workshop on Internet & Network Economics

Behavioral Network Formation

Michael Kearns
University of Pennsylvania


For a number of years, we have been conducting human-subject experiments at Penn examining economic and game-theoretic behavior in networked settings. While the diversity of both collective tasks and network structures studied has been considerable, one of the greatest artificialities of these experiments has been the exogenous selection of the network, as opposed to the network being created by the subjects themselves.

In this talk I will report on our most recent experiments, which constitute one of the first and largest behavioral investigations of a network formation game, in which subjects pay to build a network while attempting to solve a distributed biased voting problem. After giving a brief overview of our overall experimental agenda, I will focus on the voting and network formation games, and some surprising findings they elicit.

Joint work with Stephen Judd and Eugene Vorobeychik.