Woodrow Wilson School of Public
and International Affairs
Institutional Affiliation: Princeton University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2019||Social Connectedness in Urban Areas|
with Michael Bailey, Theresa Kuchler, Johannes Stroebel: w26029
We use anonymized and aggregated data from Facebook to explore the spatial structure of social networks in the New York metro area. We highlight the importance of transportation infrastructure in shaping urban social networks by showing that travel time and travel costs are substantially stronger predictors of social connectedness between zip codes than geographic distance is. We also document significant heterogeneity in the geographic breadth of social networks across New York zip codes, and show that much of this heterogeneity is explained by the ease of access to public transit, even after controlling for socioeconomic characteristics of the zip codes' residents. When we group zip codes with strong social ties into hypothetical communities using an agglomerative clustering algorithm, ...