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The Social Selection of Flexible and Rigid Agents


  • Harrington, Joseph E, Jr


People differ in how they respond to their environment. Some individuals treat each situation as unique and tailor their behavior accordingly while others respond in the same manner regardless of the situation. The authors' objective is to explore how social systems select from such a heterogeneous population. A class of simple hierarchical systems is considered which encompasses some features of corporations and electoral systems. A selection process operates on this population which results in successful agents going on to compete against equally successful agents for further advancement. The author characterizes the population dynamics and the type of agent that ultimately dominates. Copyright 1998 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1998. "The Social Selection of Flexible and Rigid Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 63-82, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:88:y:1998:i:1:p:63-82

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Oded Galor & Quamrul Ashraf, 2007. "Cultural Assimilation, Cultural Diffusion and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," Working Papers 2007-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Alos-Ferrer, Carlos, 1999. "Dynamical Systems with a Continuum of Randomly Matched Agents," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 245-267, June.
    3. Chang, Myong-Hun & Harrington, Joseph Jr., 2006. "Agent-Based Models of Organizations," Handbook of Computational Economics,in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 26, pages 1273-1337 Elsevier.
    4. Duffie, Darrell & Sun, Yeneng, 2012. "The exact law of large numbers for independent random matching," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(3), pages 1105-1139.
    5. Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2003. "Social Sorting," Research Memorandum 035, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    6. Inderst, Roman & Muller, Holger M. & Warneryd, Karl, 2007. "Distributional conflict in organizations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 385-402, February.
    7. Andreas Ramsauer, 1999. "Heterogeneous Discount Factors in an Assignment Model with Search Frictions," Vienna Economics Papers 9807, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    8. Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2000. "Unfolding Social Hierarchies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 177-203, February.
    9. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 1999. "The Equilibrium Level of Rigidity in a Hierarchy," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 189-202, August.
    10. Garcia-Martinez, Jose A., 2010. "Selectivity in hierarchical social systems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2471-2482, November.
    11. José A. García Martínez, 2005. "Selection And Efficiency In Hierarchical Social Systems," Working Papers. Serie AD 2005-35, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    12. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
    13. Garcia-Martinez, Jose A., 2012. "An Unexpected Role of Local Selectivity in Social Promotion," MPRA Paper 36324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. repec:wsi:igtrxx:v:19:y:2017:i:04:n:s0219198917500190 is not listed on IDEAS

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