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On the causes and effects of specialization: A mathematical approach
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication. (Centrum för evolutionär kulturforskning)
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 [en]
Specialization, Division of labor, matematical model, social stratification
National Category
Computational Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-5865ISBN: 978-91-86135-26-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-5865DiVA, id: diva2:216876
Presentation
Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7, Stockholm (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-06-01 Created: 2009-05-12 Last updated: 2009-06-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Temporal Discounting Leads to Social Stratification
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Temporal Discounting Leads to Social Stratification
(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
social stratification, mathematical model
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) Other Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-5852 (URN)
Available from: 2009-05-11 Created: 2009-05-11 Last updated: 2013-01-24Bibliographically approved
2. Theoretic and Empirical studies of Division of Labor and Specialization: An interdisciplinary survey
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Theoretic and Empirical studies of Division of Labor and Specialization: An interdisciplinary survey
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The extensive division of labor in human societies is one of the aspects that make them unique. There are many areas which are influenced by this division. The most obvious one might be the economy, where division of labor yields much higher production. However, as we will show in this survey, a lot of other areas which affect society are influenced by division of labor, such as population size and density, technology, trade, accumulation of knowledge, social stratification, political organization, and institutions. Even the size of the family is argued to be linked to division of labor and specialization.This review will discuss how specialization evolved, including both theoretical and empirical studies from several disciplines. We will also study different kinds of specialization, as well as how and in which areas specialization has an influence.

Keywords
division of labor, specialization, survey
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-5864 (URN)
Available from: 2009-05-12 Created: 2009-05-12 Last updated: 2013-01-24Bibliographically approved

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Ehn, Micael
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • Other style
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
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