Polarization under rising Inequality and Economic Decline

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted Jan 09, 2021 | ScienceAdvances, Joanna Bryson, Alexander Stewart, Nolan McCarty

Polarisation creates conflict and prevents individuals and governments from working toward a common good. In this article in ScienceAdvances, Joanna Bryson, Alexander Stewart and Nolan McCarty explain why individuals might become more polarised in the face of economic inequality, and what this implies. Using a model based on game theory and cultural evolution, they show that in times of economic hardship, individuals seek interactions with “in-groups” that are economically and socially similar to themselves, develop an aversion to risk, and reject collaboration with individuals in “out groups”. This occurs even though they would be better off working with the “out-group”. as when times are hard, the risks of collaboration with outsiders, may be seen to outweigh the benefits.



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