Core and Periphery in Networks

Daniel Hojman
Adam Szeidi
Journal of Economic Theory



We study a model of network formation where the benefits from connections exhibit decreasing returns and decay with network distance. We show that the unique equilibrium network is a periphery-sponsored star, where one player, the center, maintains no links and earns a high payoff, while all other players maintain a single link to the center and earn lower payoffs. Both the star architecture and payoff inequality are preserved in an extension of the model where agents can make transfers and bargain over the formation of links, under the condition that the surplus of connections increases in the size of agents’ neighborhoods. Our model thus generates two common features of social and economic networks: (1) a core-periphery structure; (2) positive correlation between network centrality and payoffs.