Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 779–798 | Cite as

Social connections and cultural heterogeneity

  • Jiabin WuEmail author
Regular Article


This paper proposes an evolutionary model in which the assortativity level of matching is endogenously determined. We consider a population consisting of two cultural groups. Each group has a leader who aims to maximize the group’s average fitness by exerting costly effort to enhance either within-group or cross-group social connections. Within-group social connections increase the assortativity level of matching and promote segregation, while cross-group social connections decrease the assortativity level of matching and encourage integration. We find that the endogenous process by which the assortativity level is determined can generate an intermediate level of assortativity that is neither complete segregation nor maximal integration and lead to a rich set of cultural phenomena including cultural heterogeneity, which cannot be accounted for in many cases if the assortativity level is given exogenously.


Social connections Cultural heterogeneity Assortative matching Cultural leaders Evolutionary game theory 

JEL Classification

C73 Z13 



The author sincerely thanks two anonymous referees for the comments that greatly improved the paper. The author is also grateful to Ted Bergstrom, David de la Croix, Steven Durlauf, James Montgomery, Marzena Rostek and William Sandholm for their advice, inspiration and suggestions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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