Cities and the structure of social interactions: Evidence from mobile phone data

Büchel, Konstantin; v. Ehrlich, Maximilian (2020). Cities and the structure of social interactions: Evidence from mobile phone data. Journal of urban economics, 119, p. 103276. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jue.2020.103276

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The impact of telecommunication technologies on the role of cities depends on whether these technologies and face-to-face interactions are substitutes or complements. We analyze anonymized mobile phone data to examine how distance and population density affect calling behavior. Exploiting an exogenous change in travel times as well as permanent relocations of individuals, we find that distance is highly detrimental to link formation. Mobile phone usage significantly increases with population density even when spatial sorting is accounted for. This effect is most pronounced for local interactions between individuals in the same catchment area. This indicates that face-to-face interactions and mobile phone calls are complementary to each other, so that mobile phone technology may even increase the dividends of density.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics > Institute of Economics > Economic Policy and Regional Economics
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics > Institute of Economics
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics > Institute of Economics > Public Economics
11 Centers of Competence > Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED)

UniBE Contributor:

Büchel, Konstantin and v. Ehrlich, Maximilian

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics

ISSN:

0094-1190

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Melanie Moser

Date Deposited:

26 Nov 2020 16:24

Last Modified:

29 Nov 2020 02:45

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.jue.2020.103276

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.148547

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/148547

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