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Strategic Network Disruption and Defense

By Britta Hoyer and Kris De Jaegher

Abstract

Networks are one of the essential building blocks of society. Not only do firms cooperate in R&D networks, but firms themselves may be seen as networks of information-exchanging workers. Social movements increasingly make use of networks to exchange information, just as on the negative side criminal and terrorist networks use them. However, the literature on networks has mainly focused on the cooperative side of networks and has so far neglected the competition side of networks. Networks themselves may face competition from actors with opposing interests to theirs. Several R&D networks may compete with one another. The firm as a network of employees obviously faces competition. In particular, given the importance of connectivity for networks, competing networks may try to disrupt each other, by trying to convince key players in competing networks to defect, or to stop sponsoring key links (strategic network disruption). In response, networks that face competition will adapt their structure, and will avoid vulnerable network structures. Such network competition is what our paper is concerned with.Strategic Network Disruption, Strategic Network Design, Noncooperative Network Games

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