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Modeling the Dynamics of Conflict and Cooperation Within and Between Multifarious Social Groups

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Technical Report,15 Sep 2014,14 Sep 2019

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University of Tennessee at Knoxville Knoxville United States

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Horizontal inequality - economic, social and political inequality between different identity groups - is an important contributor to violent conflicts within societies. To deepen our understanding of the underlying social dynamics, we develop a mathematical model describing cooperation and conflict in a society composed by multiple factions engaged in economic and political interactions. Our model predicts that growing economic and political inequality tends to lead to the collapse of cooperation between factions that were initially seeking to cooperate. Certain mechanisms can delay this process, including the decoupling of political and economic power through rule of law and allegiance to the state or dominant faction. Counter-intuitively, anti-conformity can also stabilize society, by preventing initial defections from cascading. Heterogeneity in resources between factions makes the society more stable to negative effects of inequality.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology

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