Economics: An Emerging Small World
We study the evolution of social distance among economists over the period 1970–2000. While the number of economists has more than doubled, the distance between them, which was already small, has declined signiﬁcantly. The key to understanding the short average distances is the observation that economics is spanned by a collection of interlinked stars. A star is an economist who writes with many other economists, most of whom have few coauthors and generally do not write with each other.