Degrees of Separation in the New Zealand Workforce: Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee Data


  • Nairn W. MacGibbon Statistics New Zealand



Recently published analysis of messages sent over the Microsoft instant-messaging network has shown that the old maxim of six degrees of separation is not far from the truth. The idea is that, on average, you are connected by no more than six links to all other 6.7 billion people on Earth. These links can be through blood, friendship or an acquaintance - you know someone who is friends with someone whose sister is married to someone ... and so on. Using Statistics NZ's Linked Employer-Employee Dataset (LEED), this maxim is tested on a network of wage and salary earners in New Zealand. The average shortest path between employees is derived, together with a range of measures, which describe characteristics of this unique view of the New Zealand labour market network.


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