IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wop/safiwp/01-10-060.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Evolution of Inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Samuel Bowles

Abstract

Under what conditions can class divisions characterized by high levels of inequality be designated evolutionary universals, using Talcott Parsons's term to refer to social arrangements which have emerged independently and persisted in a wide variety of environments? To explore this question, I represent economic institutions as bargaining conventions and then in order to better capture the historically observed processes of institutional evolution I extend recent models in stochastic evolutionary game theory in four ways: i) non-best response (idiosyncratic) play is modeled as intentional rather than accidental, ii) non best response play is coordinated through a process of collective action, iii) substantial rates of non-best response play are introduced, and iv) the sub-populations making up the classes may be of different sizes. In this model, contrary to the conventional formulation, highly unequal and economically inefficient institutions may be stochastically stable states in the implied dynamical system, while more egalitarian institutions may prove ephemeral.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Evolution of Inequality," Working Papers 01-10-060, Santa Fe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:01-10-060
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Stochastically stable state; evolutionary universals; collective action; conventions; inequality;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:01-10-060. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/epstfus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.