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Weak Ties, Employment, and Inequality: An Equilibrium Analysis

James D. Montgomery
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 99, No. 5 (Mar., 1994), pp. 1212-1236
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2781148
Page Count: 25
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Weak Ties, Employment, and Inequality: An Equilibrium Analysis
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Abstract

This article adds a simple social structure and pattern of social interaction to a Markov model of employment transitions. In the model, society is composed fo many small (two-person) groups. Unemployed individuals find jobs through strong ties (intragroup social interaction), weak ties (random intergroup interaction), and formal channels. Holding constant the total level of social interaction affects the steady-state equilibrium. An increase in weak-tie interactions reduces inequality, thereby creating a more equitable distribution of employment across groups. Moreover, an increase in weak-tie interactions increases the steady-state employment rate if inbreeding by employment status among weak ties is sufficiently low.

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