Nation-scale social networks
The project will, using data on population and mobile payment transfers, explore how social networks can help to understand variations in wealth, education, crime and employment.
‘Nation-scale social networks’ is one of the inaugural recipients of the grants involved in VILLUM FONDEN’s new program to support interdisciplinary data-driven research. In total, two full projects and six initiation projects share DKK 52.5 million. The projects incorporate computer science with fields such as technology, natural sciences, economics and communication.
In Harvard’s 80+ year study on human happiness, the ‘Harvard Study on Human Development’, a key finding is that social relationships are more important than genetics in determining health, happiness, and financial outcomes. More generally, there is a wealth of evidence for the importance of our social networks across a wide range of areas. In spite of the importance of social relationships, however, a systematic large-scale study of the role of social networks, and the magnitude of their impact has not been carried out. The simple reason is that a usable network dataset so far has proven too challenging to establish. Here, we combine expertise across the computational and social sciences to provide an ambitious closing of this gap in the literature, by forcefully addressing the foundational question: "How does information about an individual’s social network contribute to understand- ing the variability in key life outcomes such as wealth, education, crime, and employment trajectories?" We answer this question by creating a new dataset, which combines full population registry data for the Danish population from 1980 to the present with large-scale social network data, drawn from e.g. online social network data, mobile payment transactions, telecommunication data, or similar large-scale network data.
The grant is part of VILLUM FONDENs new program to support interdisciplinary data-driven science: Villum Synergy. DTU Compute and Statistics Denmark are also part of the project.