Document Type

Article

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

Information Science, 5.2 ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS

Abstract

Group size can potentially affect collective activity and individual propensity to contribute to collective goods. Mancur Olson, in his Logic of Collective Action, argued that individual contribution to a collective good tends to be lower in groups of large size. Today, online communication platforms represent an interesting ground to study such collaborative dynamics under possibly different conditions (e.g., lower costs related to gather and share information). This paper examines the relationship between group size and activity in an online financial forum, where users invest time in sharing news, analysis and comments with other investors. We looked at about 24 million messages shared in more than ten years in the finanzaonline.com online forum. We found that the relationship between the number of active users and the number of posts shared by those users is of the power type (with exponent α>1) and is subject to periodic fluctuations, mostly driven by hour-of-the-day and day-of-the-week effects. The daily patterns of the exponent showed a divergence between working week and weekend days. In general, the exponent was lower before noon, where investors are typically interested in market news, higher in the late afternoon, where markets are closing and investors need better understanding of the situation. Further research is needed, especially at the micro level, to dissect the mechanisms behind these regularities.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physa.2017.11.143

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