Date of Award

8-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Watts, Alison

Abstract

Social networks tend to shape our views about the world. Our study conducts an empirical analysis of social network dynamics using Twitter data. We ask whether social networks influence voting decisions, and determine whether or not people make consistent choices based on their tweets or what they believe. We collect Twitter data on a daily basis, with dynamic social network measurements before, during, and after the 2012 Presidential election. We identify how people should believe based on their ideological profiles. We use lexicographical analysis to check if ideological key words are present in a user's tweets, and if the overall sentiment on this issue is positive or negative. We utilize this data to determine how people should have chosen an outcome which may conflict with an individual's observed declaration of political ideology. We are able to determine what percentage of the population made a consistent choices based on their Tweets during the 2012 presidential election. Additionally, we examine the social network structure in Twitter and how it affects voting. We illustrate that an individual's political ideology is influenced by others in their network.\\ Consumer confidence is an economic indicator which measures the degree of optimism that consumers feel about the overall state of the economy as well as their personal financial situation. We will show that consumer sentiment can be measured via analysis of social networks. Specifically, we perform a lexicographic analysis of Twitter data over a three month period. After careful analysis, we find that not only does talk intensity of economic issues cause shifts in the daily stock market prices but has a significant negative affect.\\ The study of religion has enjoyed distinction and legitimacy within sociology, psychology, anthropology, and political science for many years. This paper concerns the extent to which economic opinion is embedded in structure of religious social relations. We hope to enhance the empirical study of homophily and the economics of behavior by showing how beliefs, norms, and values are affected by religion and, by extension, morals, and culture. We utilize a technique called cluster analysis to determine homophilic ties within a single attribute, religiosity. We see that religion affects economic attitudes and activities of individuals, groups, and societies. Further, religion influences how behavior and institutions are affected by social relations and in our case homophily. This influence is one of the classic questions of social theory.

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