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From economic structure to power structure : a structural approach

Power is absent in many economic studies, though everyone knows that social and economic agents often look to increase their own influence on the behaviour of others. In this paper, a power structure is associated to an economic structure, the power resulting from the influence transmitted and received by the agents. It is assumed that the agents have an initial measurable opinion that will change over time as a result of influence transmitted through the power structure induced by the economic structure. A power structure implies the existance of one or more equilibrium opinions, which constitute the unanimous compromise between the totality or a part of the agents. A classification of power structure would appear to be linked to the nature of the equilibrium opinion. The stationary case is when a compromise is reached immediately, as in terror equilibrium or price equilibrium in oligopoly. In most cases, a compromise requires several stages of negotiation. Due to the nature of the power structure, a unanimous compromise would take into consideration all initial opinions, while in a dictatorial structure, only those of a dominating agent subset would be considered. These results illustrate the logic of economic globalisation. Moreover, if agents do not manifest resistance to the influence of others, they are considered as versatile; thus several compromises are possible with the cyclical adherence of subgroups of agents.

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Paper provided by University of Liège Faculty of Econonomics, Management and Social Sciences Department of Economics Service of International and Interregional Economics in its series SEII Working Papers with number 010601.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:sei:seiiwp:010601
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