Homophily and the glass ceiling effect in social networks

Chen Avin, Barbara Keller, Zvi Lotker, Claire Mathieu, David Peleg, Yvonne Anne Pignolet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The glass ceiling effect has been defined in a recent US Federal Commission report as "the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements". It is well documented that many societies and organizations exhibit a glass ceiling. In this paper we formally define and study the glass ceiling effect in social networks and propose a natural mathematical model, called the biased preferential attachment model, that par- tially explains the causes of the glass ceiling effect. This model consists of a network composed of two types of ver- tices, representing two sub-populations, and accommodates three well known social phenomena: (i) the "rich get richer" mechanism, (ii) a minority-majority partition, and (iii) ho- mophily. We prove that our model exhibits a strong mo- ment glass ceiling effect and that all three conditions are necessary, i.e., removing any one of them will prevent the appearance of a glass ceiling effect. Additionally, we present empirical evidence taken from a mentor-student network of researchers (derived from the DBLP database) that exhibits both a glass ceiling effect and the above three phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITCS 2015 - Proceedings of the 6th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages41-50
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333337
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Jan 2015
Event6th Conference on Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science, ITCS 2015 - Rehovot, Israel
Duration: 11 Jan 201513 Jan 2015

Publication series

NameITCS 2015 - Proceedings of the 6th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science

Conference

Conference6th Conference on Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science, ITCS 2015
Country/TerritoryIsrael
CityRehovot
Period11/01/1513/01/15

Keywords

  • Glass ceiling
  • Homophily
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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