Since Merton’s classical analysis of cumulative advantage in science, it has been observed that status hierarchies display a sizable disconnect between actors’ quality and rank and that they become increasingly asymmetric over time, without, however, turning into winner-take-all structures. In recent years, formal models of status hierarchies tried to account for these facts by combining two micro-level, counterbalancing mechanisms: ‘‘social influ- ence’’ (supposedly driving inequality) and the desire for ‘‘reciprocation in deferential gestures’’ (supposedly limiting inequality). In the article, we adopt as empirical benchmark basic features that are common to most distribu- tions of status indicators (e.g., income, academic prestige, wealth, social ties) and argue that previous formal models were only partially able to reproduce such macro-level patterns. We then introduce a novel agent-based computa- tional model of deferential gestures that improves on the realism of previous models by introducing heuristic-based decision making, actors’ heterogene- ity, and status homophily in social interactions. We systematically and exten- sively study the model’s parameter space and consider a few variants to determine under which conditions the macroscopic patterns of interest are more likely to appear.

Heuristics, interactions, and status hierarchies: an agent-based model of deference exchange

Baldassarri, Delia
2015

Abstract

Since Merton’s classical analysis of cumulative advantage in science, it has been observed that status hierarchies display a sizable disconnect between actors’ quality and rank and that they become increasingly asymmetric over time, without, however, turning into winner-take-all structures. In recent years, formal models of status hierarchies tried to account for these facts by combining two micro-level, counterbalancing mechanisms: ‘‘social influ- ence’’ (supposedly driving inequality) and the desire for ‘‘reciprocation in deferential gestures’’ (supposedly limiting inequality). In the article, we adopt as empirical benchmark basic features that are common to most distribu- tions of status indicators (e.g., income, academic prestige, wealth, social ties) and argue that previous formal models were only partially able to reproduce such macro-level patterns. We then introduce a novel agent-based computa- tional model of deferential gestures that improves on the realism of previous models by introducing heuristic-based decision making, actors’ heterogene- ity, and status homophily in social interactions. We systematically and exten- sively study the model’s parameter space and consider a few variants to determine under which conditions the macroscopic patterns of interest are more likely to appear.
2014
Manzo, Gianluca; Baldassarri, Delia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11565/4035035
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