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Modelling Bordieu: An extension of the Axelrod Cultural Diffusion Model


  • Andrew Trigg

    () (Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University)

  • Andrew J. Bertie

    (The Open University)

  • Sue Himmelweit

    () (Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University)


The contribution to the social theory of consumption of the late Pierre Bourdieu has been widely recognized, but not fully absorbed by the economics discipline. To address this lacuna, an agent-based model of Bourdieu's social theory is developed by extending Axelrod's cultural diffusion model. Bourdieu's theory is decomposed into two components: a capital effect on social interaction and an innovation effect. Whereas simulations of the capital effect are found to have a key role in the reproduction of economic inequality, by comparing survey and simulation results the innovation effect is shown to provide an insight into how cultural capital is distributed.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Trigg & Andrew J. Bertie & Sue Himmelweit, 2008. "Modelling Bordieu: An extension of the Axelrod Cultural Diffusion Model," Open Discussion Papers in Economics 68, The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:opn:wpaper:68

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    More about this item


    Bordieu; habitus; cultural capital; Axelrod; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


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