This paper considers a population of agents that are engaged in a listening network. The agents wish to match their actions to the true value of some uncertain (exogenous) parameter and to the actions of the other agents. Each agent begins with some initial information about the parameter and, in addition, is able to receive further information from their neighbors in the network. I derive a closed expression for the (interim) social welfare loss that depends on the initial information structure and on the possible pieces of information that can be gathered under the network. Then, I explore how changes in the network may affect social welfare for extreme levels of complementarity in the agents' actions. When the level of complementarity is very high, efficiency is achieved regardless of the network structure. For very low levels of complementarity in actions, efficiency can be either associated to more sparse or denser networks, depending on the size of the induced informative gains. The implications of this paper are relevant in security environments where agents are naturally interpreted as analysts who try to forecast the value of a parameter that describes a threat to security.
networks information aggregation beauty-contests strategic complementarity social welfare