VIP-club phenomenon: Emergence of elites and masterminds in social networks

Naoki Masuda*, Norio Konno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Hubs, or vertices with large degrees, play massive roles in, for example, epidemic dynamics, innovation diffusion, and synchronization on networks. However, costs of owning edges can motivate agents to decrease their degrees and avoid becoming hubs, whereas they would somehow like to keep access to a major part of the network. By analyzing a model and tennis players' partnership networks, we show that combination of vertex fitness and homophily yields a VIP-club made of elite vertices that are influential but not easily accessed from the majority. Intentionally formed VIP members can even serve as masterminds, which manipulate hubs to control the entire network without exposing themselves to a large mass. If based on network topology only, elites are not distinguished from many other vertices. Understanding network data is far from sufficient; individualistic factors greatly affect network structure and functions per se.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-309
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Networks
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Homophily
  • Scale-free networks
  • Threshold graph
  • Vertex fitness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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