Improving the visibility of minorities through network growth interventions

Improving the position of minority groups in networks through interventions is a challenge of high theoretical and societal importance. However, a systematic analysis of interventions that alter the network growth process is still missing. In this work, we propose a model to examine how network growth interventions impact the position of minority nodes in degree rankings over time. We distinguish between (i) group size interventions, such as introducing quotas; and (ii) behavioural interventions, such as varying how groups connect to each other. We find that even extreme quotas do not increase minority representation in rankings if the actors in the network do not adopt homophilic behaviour. Thus, interventions need to be coordinated in order to improve the visibility of minorities. In a real-world case study, we explore which interventions can reach gender parity in academia. Our work provides a theoretical and computational framework for investigating the effectiveness of interventions in growing networks.

This report is published at Nature Communications Physics and is also featured in a blog post by the Complexity Science Hub Vienna.

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