Social network and temporal discounting

For reasons of social influence and social logistics, people in closed networks are expected to experience time compression: The more closed a person’s network, the steeper the person’s discount function, and the more narrow the expected time horizon within which the person deliberates events and behavior. Consistent with the hypothesis, data on managers at the top of three organizations show network closure associated with a social life compressed into daily contact with colleagues. Further, language in closed networks is predominantly about current activities, ignoring the future. Further still, discount functions employed by executive MBA students show more severe discounting by students in more closed networks. Inattention to the future can be argued to impair achievement, however, I find no evidence across the managers of daily contact diminishing the achievement associated with network advantage. I close with comments on replication and extrapolation to language more generally, within-person variation, and select cognitive patterns (closure bias, end of history, and felt status loss).



Social network and temporal discounting

Network Science, Volume 5 / Issue 4, November 2017, pp 411 – 440
doi: 10.1017/nws.2017.23