Valentina Assenova, Management, The Wharton School
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine how network multiplexity shapes the speed of information flows and the spread of complex innovations, those requiring social validation from multiple sources for their adoption. Prior sociological theory and research have focused on tie-level and actor-level properties of multiplex ties, but have given insufficient consideration to how interlock among multiple types of networks shapes the benefits of information in diffusion processes. This study fundamentally advances our understanding of these processes by showing that interlock among distinct types of networks affect the speed of information flows and the extent of social validation for complex innovations. Using panel data from an informational field experiment among 49,561 people in 43 Indian villages, I show that interlock among communal and economic networks in the villages undermined microfinance participation in the villages over time. I discuss implications of these findings for studies of social processes on networks.