Distance and cosine measures of niche overlap

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63 Scopus citations


Niche overlap is increasingly used as a way of measuring the intensity of interorganizational competition. This paper examines and compares various distance and cosine measures of niche overlap. The analysis in this paper shows that Euclidean distance applied to the raw data as well as to transformed data is not an appropriate measure of niche overlap. An alternative measure from the cosine family is discussed and compared to Euclidean distance. Niche overlap theory promises to be a big leap forward in measuring competition in sociological studies of organizations. But meticulous attention to the measurement of overlap is needed to fulfill the promise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-165
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Networks
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2001


  • Asymmetry
  • Competition
  • Cosine
  • Euclidean distance
  • Niche overlap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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