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A Polya Urn Model of Conformity


  • Xue, J.


In this paper we propose to use Polya urn processes to model the emergence of conformity in an environment where people interact with each other sequentially and indirectly, through a common physical facility. Examples include rewinding video tapes, erasing blackboards, and switching headlights, etc. We find that a minimum amount of imitation is able to generate a maximum l evel of conformity. We then reinterpret the result in a group imitation setup, and show that as long as groups imitate each other with positive probabilities, they will end up with the same population composition, irrespective of the initial conditions, and the imitating probabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Xue, J., 2006. "A Polya Urn Model of Conformity," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0614, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0614
    Note: ET

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    Polya urn; conformity; emergence; social norms;

    JEL classification:

    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making

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