Self-induced class stratification in competitive societies of agents: Nash stability in the presence of envy

  • Envy, the inclination to compare rewards, can be expected to unfold when inequalities in terms of pay-off differences are generated in competitive societies. It is shown that increasing levels of envy lead inevitably to a self-induced separation into a lower and an upper class. Class stratification is Nash stable and strict, with members of the same class receiving identical rewards. Upper-class agents play exclusively pure strategies, all lower-class agents the same mixed strategy. The fraction of upper-class agents decreases progressively with larger levels of envy, until a single upper-class agent is left. Numerical simulations and a complete analytic treatment of a basic reference model, the shopping trouble model, are presented. The properties of the class-stratified society are universal and only indirectly controllable through the underlying utility function, which implies that class-stratified societies are intrinsically resistant to political control. Implications for human societies are discussed. It is pointed out that the repercussions of envy are amplified when societies become increasingly competitive.

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Author:Claudius GrosORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Royal Society Open Science
Publisher:Royal Soc. Publ.
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2020
Date of first Publication:2020/06/17
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/06/24
Tag:class separation; game theory; social modelling; social stratification
Issue:6, Art. 200411
Page Number:15
First Page:1
Last Page:15
Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Institutes:Physik / Physik
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 53 Physik / 530 Physik
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0