Lee, G. M., Qiu, L., Whinston, A. B. (2016). Strategic Network Formation in a Location-Based Social Network: A Topic Modeling Approach, Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2016), Kauai, Hawaii. Nominated for Best Paper Award
This paper studies strategic network formation in a location-based social network. We build a structural model of social link creation that incorporates individual characteristics and pairwise user similarities. Specifically, we define four user proximity measures from biography, geography, mobility, and short messages. To construct proximity from unstructured text information, we build topic models using latent Dirichlet allocation. Using Gowalla data with 385,306 users, three million locations, and 35 million check-in records, we empirically estimate the structural model to find evidence on the homophily effect in network formation.