Dynamics of face-to-face social interaction frequency: role of accessibility, urbanization, changes in geographical distance and path dependence

Commonly, frequency of social interaction is modeled as a function of an ego’s socio-demographic characteristics and dyad characteristics of ego and alters. This study is based on the contention that proximity to alters and accessibility to services and degree of urbanization moderate this relationship. In addition, marking the contribution of this study to the literature, social interaction frequencies are dynamic and change over time. Therefore, face-to-face interaction frequencies are subjected to the history of interaction and distance dynamics between actors. By taking these aspects into account, important research questions can be addressed, for instance, would the frequency of meeting between an ego and an alter increase if the alter lives nearby now, but was previously located far away? Or how often would the ego meet an alter who was living nearby but moved to a more distant location now? The answers could provide important feedback to tie maintenance, strength, disappearances and social travel dynamics over time. This study draws from the concepts of path dependence, life course and accessibility and shows that history and accessibility indicators can explain part of the frequency of face-to-face interactions. Life cycle events were taken as triggers of these changes. Retrospective survey data are used for the analysis. Face-to-face social interaction frequency between egos and their alters was recorded before and after the life cycle event. A stepwise ordered logit model estimation reveals that social travel frequency can be better predicted when geographical indicators and path dependence are included in the model specification.


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  • Accession Number: 01521584
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 12 2014 1:20PM