Conference Programme 2015

Conference floor plans and map
Tuesday 14th July      Wednesday 15th July      Thursday 16th July      Friday 17th July     


Thursday 16th July, 14:00 - 15:30 Room: HT-101

Measuring Social Networks in Large-Scale Surveys: Challenges and Practice of Ego-Centred and Complete Network Approaches 1

Convenor Mr Benjamin Schulz (Mannheim Centre for European Social Research and WZB Berlin Social Science Center )
Coordinator 1Mrs Kerstin Hoenig (Leibniz-Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi), Bamberg)
Coordinator 2Professor Reinhard Pollak (WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Freie Universität Berlin)

Session Details

Survey researchers measure social networks in two fundamental ways: i) in an ego-centred manner that captures an actor’s ties and related characteristics, ii) in a broader way that captures complete networks within predefined boundaries. The latter approach gains increasing attention as recent projects in many countries and fields collect complete network data.
This increase largely follows from advances in survey instruments for complete networks and in statistical modelling, especially for network dynamics. Methodologically, complete network analysis makes it possible to separate selection and influence processes. These surveys, however, are mainly conducted in schools as meaningful network boundaries are easy to implement in this context.
Ego-centred measures offer the chance to collect network data in contexts where a complete network measurement is not feasible. To meet the challenge of reversed causality and endogeneity as a consequence of the non-random, often homophilous, formation of social ties, panel data including repeated, or prospective and retrospective, measures are promising. Several international large-scale surveys made significant progress in this domain.
By bringing together researchers from both camps, we seek to promote a discussion that allows for a better evaluation of the advantages and pitfalls of each approach. The session's focus shall be on longitudinal measurements and statistical modelling of social networks, especially on means to identify causal network effects. The second focus shall be on ways to assess the reliability and validity of ego-centred and complete network measures. For ego-centred network measures, such as name or resource generators, the reliability of these instruments will be of central interest. For complete network measures, the specification of network boundaries is a heavily debated issue. Contributions might also include studies on how to identify and deal with compositional changes or on inference errors that may follow from insufficiently specified boundaries.

Paper Details

1. Introduction: Measuring Social Networks in Large-Scale Surveys
Mr Benjamin Benjamin (Mannheim Centre for European Social Research and WZB Berlin Social Science Center)
Mrs Kerstin Hoenig (Leibniz-Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi), Bamberg)
Professor Reinhard Pollak (WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Freie Universität Berlin)

Survey researchers measure social networks in two fundamental ways: i) in an ego-centred manner that captures an actor’s ties and related characteristics, ii) in a broader way that captures complete networks within predefined boundaries. The latter approach gains increasing attention as recent projects in many countries and fields collect complete network data.


2. Where should I sit? The desk-mate effect on academic achievement and its importance in Roma-integration
Dr Tamás Keller (TÁRKI Social Research Inc.)
Dr Károly Takács (Research Center for Educational and Network Studies (RECENS))

Sociologists highlighted that some peers are more important than others in determining academic performance. Desk-mates, especially if they sit long next to each other, certainly become relevant peers. We examine whether desk-mates have a positive impact on academic achievement above the general influence of classmates and of friends, analyzing network panel data merged with competence data in secondary schools with mixed ethnic composition in Hungary. We run separate models for classrooms where seating was determined by the teachers in order to maintain the exogeneity assumption about desk-mates. We established significant positive effect on own subsequent academic achievement.


3. Ethnic Segregation of Friendship Networks in School
Mr Lars Leszczensky (University of Mannheim)
Mr Sebastian Pink (University of Mannheim)

Adolescents’ school-based friendship networks often are segregated along ethnic lines. But few studies have examined whether variation in network boundaries affects the degree of ethnic friendship segregation. Based on rational choice theory, we argue that ethnic homophily is more pronounced for friendships between classrooms than for friendships within classrooms. We empirically test this hypothesis using German two-wave panel data and stochastic actor-oriented models (RSiena). In line with our theoretical argument, we find that the tendency to form same-ethnic friendships indeed is stronger at the grade-level, which translates into stronger ethnic segregation at the classroom level.



4. Residential segregation, school segregation and the high-status contacts of low-status adolescents in Hungary
Dr Kertesi Gábor (Institute of Economics, CERS Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest)
Dr Hajdu Tamás (Institute of Economics, CERS Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest)
Professor Kézdi Gábor (Dept. of Economics, Central European University, Budapest)

High-status contacts of the disadvantaged Roma minority is an important factor in helping their upward mobility. Our study uses linked survey and administrative data to examine the relationship of the prevalence of the non-Roma peer contacts of Hungarian Roma adolescents with their exposure to such peers in their neighborhood and school. We show that the composition of the residential neighborhood of Roma adolescents is a very important determinant of their higher status contacts, and the composition of their schools is also important. Residential and school segregation are likely to be important obstacles for their upward mobility