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The Beauty of Ivy: When Inequality Meets Equality

Global Journal of Management and Business Research: Economics and Commerce, 16, 3, 1-11, 2016

Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 2016

28 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2015 Last revised: 22 Feb 2017

Julia M. Puaschunder

Harvard University; The New School for Social Research; Columbia University

Date Written: July 7, 2015


Thomas Piketty’s (2014) Capital in the 21st Century revolutionized economic thoughts on inequality. Started by the 2008/09 World Financial Crisis and cumulated in the subsequent Occupy movement, attention to rising inequality regarding economic wage, opportunity and wealth led to advocacy for a more equal society. Innovatively, this article argues for a mixture of equality and inequality within a system holding value when access to opportunities to transfer implicit wealth is distributed merit-based. By the example of Ivy League educational institutions but also elaborating on social environments and interaction networks, a novel economic wealth transfer model is proposed. Within an economic system, dyads of unequal crystallized value based on heritage (e.g., royal families, legacy admits) and merit-based equality represented by offspring from families with underprivileged backgrounds, whose outperforming ambition, fluid intelligence and drive may lead to fruitful social interactions and beneficial wealth transfers, may create beneficial economic outcomes. On the societal level, within networks favorable environments may serve as transformation hubs if entered merit-based by underprivileged families. While presenting a preliminary idea of an economic model of value transfer between equality and inequality, the article outlines a blatant research gap on information about the direct transactions and interactions between equality and inequality representing agents within societal networks. The article concludes with giving hope in Piketty’s outlook of rising inequality by showing the economic merits of inequality when paying attention to merit-based distributed value transfer opportunities.

Keywords: Equality; Governance; Inequality; Intergenerational Equity; Intergenerational Mobility; Intergenerational Transfer; Ivy Leagues; Network Theory; Social Mobility; Social Network

Suggested Citation

Puaschunder, Julia M., The Beauty of Ivy: When Inequality Meets Equality (July 7, 2015). Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 2016. Available at SSRN: or

Julia Puaschunder (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

24 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

The New School for Social Research ( email )

6 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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