The Old-Boy Network and the Young-Gun Effect



A model of an exclusive group or class whose membership is governed by personal contact and interaction is studied. Members of this old-boy network attempt to shield themselves from transacting with opportunistic or incompetent individuals by dealing only infrequently with unproven nonmembers. This injures the unproven but qualified agents not in the network. Moreover, because recruitment of a new member creates a public good for network members, too little recruiting is performed in equilibrium.