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The World Wide Web Keeps it Local

Rather than create a “global village,” the Internet may have actually “shrunk people’s horizons,” reports an Economist article about a new study by Hebrew University researchers Jacob Goldenberg and Moshe Levy. They used a common Freakonomics topic — baby names — to study how far ideas have spread since the advent of the Internet. They found that from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, “the proportion of babies given a certain name in a state where that name was already popular or in a neighboring state was 20 percent higher than would otherwise have been expected.” From 1995 to 2005, they found, the 20 percent figure jumped to 30 percent. This jump correlates to the rise of the web, Goldenberg and Levy found, but they haven’t proven causation. [%comments]