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How the Friendship Paradox Makes Your Friends Better Than You Are

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Researchers have found that the friendship paradox, that your friends have more friends than you do, applies to wealth and happiness.

Credit: radiantskies

The friendship paradox applies to happiness and wealth, according to researchers at the University of Toulouse and Aalto University.

The friendship paradox is the empirical observation that your friends have more friends than you do. Network scientists Young-Ho Eorn and Hang-Hyun Jo have evaluated the properties of different characteristics on networks and worked out the mathematical conditions that determine whether the paradox applies to them or not.

Eorn and Jo examined two academic networks in which scientists are linked if they have co-authored a scientific paper together. Every scientist is a node in the network and the links arise between scientists who have been co-authors. Eorn and Jo found the paradox in these networks as well, in that a scientist's co-authors will have more co-authors, more publications, and more citations than he or she has. The researchers term this the generalized friendship paradox, and they say that when it manifests itself as a result of the way nodes are linked together, any other properties of these nodes exhibit the same paradoxical nature, as long as they are correlated in a certain manner.

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