Social networks and the economics of networks

The article discusses why a network view of social interaction is a particularly fruitful approach for research in the evolutionary economics tradition. Social network analysis (SNA) is inherently relational, contextual and systemic, which is similar to how many researchers associated with evolutionary economics see the world and their discipline. The argument is demonstrated with the help of a data- set obtained from a survey of second year undergraduate students at the University of Nottingham Business School. We find that students do not choose their operator in isolation, but coordinate it with their peers. In other words, just analysing individual consumers would have missed the real reasons behind the observed findings. We argue that similar processes are important for other economic transactions as well and that they are particularly important for innovation studies.