The Social Climbing Game

ETH RC Working Paper No. 12-014

15 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2013

See all articles by Marco Bardoscia

Marco Bardoscia

Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics

Giancarlo De Luca

iPLESP UMR-S 1136 INSERM

Giacomo Livan

Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)

Matteo Marsili

Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)

Claudio J. Tessone

ETH Zürich

Date Written: September 6, 2012

Abstract

The structure of a society depends, to some extent, on the incentives of the individuals they are composed of. We study a stylized model of this interplay, that suggests that the more individuals aim at climbing the social hierarchy, the more society's hierarchy gets strong. Such a dependence is sharp, in the sense that a persistent hierarchical order emerges abruptly when the preference for social status gets larger than a threshold. This phase transition has its origin in the fact that the presence of a well defined hierarchy allow agents to climb it, thus reinforcing it, whereas in a "disordered'' society it is harder for agents to find out whom they should connect to in order to become more central. Interestingly, a social order emerges when agents strive harder to climb society and it results in a state of reduced social mobility, as a consequence of ergodicity breaking, where climbing is more difficult.

Keywords: hierarchical organisation, network centrality, inequality

Suggested Citation

Bardoscia, Marco and De Luca, Giancarlo and Livan, Giacomo and Marsili, Matteo and Tessone, Claudio J., The Social Climbing Game (September 6, 2012). ETH RC Working Paper No. 12-014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2198943 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2198943

Marco Bardoscia

Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics ( email )

Strada Costiera 11
Trieste, 34151
Italy

Giancarlo De Luca

iPLESP UMR-S 1136 INSERM ( email )

101 rue de Tolbiac
75654 Paris Cedex 13
France

Giacomo Livan

Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) ( email )

Strada Costiera 11
34100 Trieste
United States

Matteo Marsili

Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) ( email )

Strada Costiera 11
Trieste, 34014
Italy

Claudio J. Tessone (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.sg.ethz.ch/people/tessonec

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