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An Unexpected Role of Local Selectivity in Social Promotion

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  • Garcia-Martinez, Jose A.

Abstract

A selection process and a hierarchical promotion system in a dynamic model are considered as in Harrington (1998) and Garcia-Martinez (2010), where agents are "climbing the pyramid" in a rank-order contest based on the "up or out" policy. The population at any level of the hierarchy is matched in groups of n agents, and each group faces a particular environment. Agents are ranked according to the quality of their performances in each particular environment. The top k performing agents from each group are promoted. The fraction (k/n) characterizes the local selectivity of the process. The role of the degree of local selectivity in the dynamic process where agents' types differ in their expected performances is studied. For low selectivity, the selection process is not strong enough to overcome the inertia of the initial population. If selectivity increases, only the best-performing type of agent will survive. If the selectivity is increased far enough, the worst-performing type also survives, and the proportion for which they account at equilibrium increases as selectivity increases. Therefore, surprisingly, no matter how low the expected success rate of a type is, if the selection process has a high enough level of selectivity, agents of that type survive in the long run: Too much selectivity is always harmful to the best-performing type.

Suggested Citation

  • Garcia-Martinez, Jose A., 2012. "An Unexpected Role of Local Selectivity in Social Promotion," MPRA Paper 36324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36324
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/36324/1/MPRA_paper_36324.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 1999. "The Equilibrium Level of Rigidity in a Hierarchy," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 189-202, August.
    3. 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.
    4. James A. Fairburn & James M. Malcomson, 2001. "Performance, Promotion, and the Peter Principle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 45-66.
    5. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-715, September.
    6. Joseph E. Harrington & Jr., 1999. "Rigidity of Social Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 40-64, February.
    7. Joseph E Harrington Jr, 1998. "Electoral Selection and the Creation of Ideologues," Economics Working Paper Archive 397, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    8. Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2000. "Unfolding Social Hierarchies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 177-203, February.
    9. Hvide, Hans K. & Kristiansen, Eirik G., 2003. "Risk taking in selection contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 172-179, January.
    10. Garcia-Martinez, Jose A., 2010. "Selectivity in hierarchical social systems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2471-2482, November.
    11. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social hierarchy; Selection; Selectivity; Promotion;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games

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