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Temporal Discounting Leads to Social Stratification
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication. (Matematik/tillämpad matematik, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution)
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Social stratification is present in all modern societies. Do income dif-ferences simply reflect inherited differences in individual abilities and re-sources? If not, why does not everyone choose strategies that lead to highincome? This paper shows that the psychological phenomenon known astemporal discounting will lead to differences in educational attainmentand therefore social stratification in any society where the demand forworkers with a higher level of education is higher than for those witha lower level. The model is used to predict income differences betweenpeople with and without college education in seven developed countries,based only on official statistics of the cost and length of college education.The model explains 93 percent of the variance, strongly suggesting thattemporal discounting is a major factor behind income differences.

Keywords [en]
social stratification, mathematical model
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) Other Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-5852OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-5852DiVA, id: diva2:216617
Available from: 2009-05-11 Created: 2009-05-11 Last updated: 2013-01-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On the causes and effects of specialization: A mathematical approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the causes and effects of specialization: A mathematical approach
2009 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Division of labor and division of knowledge are so important andcommon in society today that it is almost impossible to imagine asociety where everyone knows the same things and perform the sametasks. This would be a society where everyone grows, or gathers, andprepares their own food, makes their own tools, builds their ownhouse, and so on.

Cultural evolution is the field of research that studies the creationand diffusion of ideas and societies. It is very uncommon for thesestudies to take into account the effects of specialization. Thisthesis will show that specialization is of great importance tocultural evolution.

The thesis is divided into three parts: one introduction and two papers. The introduction covers the mathematical models used byeconomists to study the relation between the market and division oflabor. The first paper is an interdisciplinary survey of the researchon division of labor and specialization, including both theoretic andempirical studies. The second paper is a mathematical model of howspecialization of knowledge (i.e. higher education) leads to socialstratification. The model is tested against statistical data fromseveral countries and found to be a good predictor of the differencesin income between people of high and low education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalens högskola, 2009
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 103
Keywords
Specialization, Division of labor, matematical model, social stratification
National Category
Computational Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-5865 (URN)978-91-86135-26-3 (ISBN)
Presentation
Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7, Stockholm (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-06-01 Created: 2009-05-12 Last updated: 2009-06-01Bibliographically approved
2. Modeling Specialization and Division of Labor in Cultural Evolution
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modeling Specialization and Division of Labor in Cultural Evolution
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Division of labor and division of knowledge are so important and common in society today that it is difficult to imagine a functional society where everyone knows the same things and performs the same tasks. In such a society everyone grows, or gathers, and prepares their own food, makes their own tools, builds their own house, and so on.

Cultural evolution is the field of research that studies the creation and diffusion of ideas and societies. It is very uncommon for these studies to take into account the effects of specialization. This thesis will show that specialization is of great importance to cultural evolution.

The thesis is divided into two parts: The first is an introduction to studies of specialization and division of labor. The thesis begins with an interdisciplinary survey of the research on division of labor and specialization, including both theoretic and empirical studies. Next is an introduction to modeling specialization and division of labor. This includes a general framework and a number of basic models of different aspects of specialization and division of labor.

Part two consists of four papers. The first paper studies the interaction between specialization and cultural cumulation. The second and third papers examine cultural cumulation, specifically the circumstances under which cultural knowledge increases and how cultural knowledge is distributed in the population. The last paper is a mathematical model of how specialization of knowledge (i.e. higher education) leads to social stratification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2011
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 107
Keywords
Specialization, Division of Labor, Cultural Evolution
National Category
Other Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13004 (URN)978-91-7485-034-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-11, Beta, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-09-14 Created: 2011-09-14 Last updated: 2011-10-14Bibliographically approved

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Ehn, Micael
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Citation style
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  • Other locale
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