Towards a Diffusion-Based Model of Human Social Systems

7 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2014

Date Written: March 28, 2014


This paper draws primarily on the diffusions of innovations literature, especially as interpreted by Everett Rogers, to present a probabilistic, diffusions-based framework for understanding all variation within human social systems. The assumptions of this model are presented and examined individually. The resulting system has highly skewed outcomes among innovations at a given time and across long periods, with small differences at the outset explaining a broad range of differences in institutions and norms across cultures.

Keywords: social systems, institutions, norms, convention, diffusion of innovations

JEL Classification: A14, O31

Suggested Citation

Gurri, Adam, Towards a Diffusion-Based Model of Human Social Systems (March 28, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

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