Econometrica: May 2022, Volume 90, Issue 3

Testing for Differences in Stochastic Network Structure

https://doi.org/10.3982/ECTA18093
p. 1205-1223

Eric Auerbach

How can one determine whether a treatment, such as the introduction of a social program or trade shock, alters agents' incentives to form links in a network? This paper proposes analogs of a two‐sample Kolmogorov–Smirnov test, widely used in the literature to test the null hypothesis of no treatment effects, for network data. It first specifies a testing problem in which the null hypothesis is that two networks are drawn from the same random graph model. It then describes two randomization tests based on the magnitude of the difference between the networks' adjacency matrices as measured by the 2 → 2 and ∞ → 1 operator norms. Power properties of the tests are examined analytically, in simulation, and through two real‐world applications. A key finding is that the test based on the ∞ → 1 norm can be much more powerful for the kinds of sparse and degree‐heterogeneous networks common in economics.



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Supplemental Material

Supplement to "Testing for Differences in Stochastic Network Structure"

This online appendix contains material not found within the manuscript.

Section B contains additional results about the power properties of the tests based on T2→2 and S∞→1. Section C contains results from Monte Carlo experiments. Section D contains details about the applications and extensions described in Sections 2.3 and 6.1 of the main text.

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Supplement to "Testing for Differences in Stochastic Network Structure"

This zip file contains replication files for the manuscript.

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