Snowball Sampling and Sample Selection in a Social Network

23 Pages Posted: 8 May 2019

Date Written: September 1, 2015


This paper studies a snowball sampling method for social networks with endogenous peer selection. Snowball sampling is a sampling design which preserves the dependence structure of the network. It sequentially collects the information of vertices linked to the vertices collected in the previous iteration. The snowball samples suffer from a sample selection problem because of the endogenous peer selection. We propose a new estimation method that uses the relationship between samples in different iterations to correct selection. We use the snowball samples collected from Facebook to estimate the proportion of users who support the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.

Suggested Citation

Chan, Julian TszKin, Snowball Sampling and Sample Selection in a Social Network (September 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Julian TszKin Chan (Contact Author)

Bates White Economic Consulting ( email )

1300 Eye Street NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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