Writings on Status Hierarchies and Reputation

In 2010, Jens Rydgren (University of Stockholm) and Christofer Edling (University of Lund) started a small research group on mechanism-based theorizing with the aim of producing a new book on this topic. Delia and I were among the participants (along with Gunn Birkelund, Mary Brinton, Filiz Garip, Hiroshi Ono, Bo Rothstein, Katherine Stovel, and P. O. Wikström) and started thinking about a possible joint contribution. We initially wanted to focus on potentialities and limitations of mathematical models for the study of social mechanisms but we did not want to discuss this topic only in abstract terms. Thus, following a previous suggestion from Peter Hedstrom, we decided to take Roger Gould’s paper on the emergence of status hierarchies as our case study. To truly understand all the implications of Gould’s equation-based model, we studied it within an agent-based computational framework. Exploring the results of this computer simulation, we discovered that some of Gould’s assertions about his model do not hold when studied numerically over a large set of parameters values. We were intrigued by this result and, in order to better understand it, we did the same operation for a related model of the emergence of status hierarchies, i.e. Lynn, Podolny and Tao’s model. After re-implementing and analyzing it through extensive agent-based simulations we concluded that, similar to what happed with Gould’s model, Lynn, Podolny and Tao’s published results are less general than the authors claim. We reported these results in a series of workshops organized by Rydgren and Edling in Uppsala (October 2010), Paris (October 2011), and Madrid (October 2012). These meetings represented an ideal context for our work and pushed us to go beyond the simple replication of previous models. Thus, we developed a new and more general model of the emergence of status hierarchies, based on simple behavioral rules and homophilious structures of dyadic interactions, which is capable of reproducing known macroscopic patterns of status inequality. “Heuristic, Interactions, and Status Hierarchies: An Agent-based Model of Deference Exchange” is the result of this effort.

Read the paper --Manzo G., Baldassarri D. (2015) “Heuristics, Interactions, and Status Hierarchies: An Agent-based Model of Deference Exchange”, Sociological Methods and Research, 44, 3, 329-387.

Preparatory work and drafts for this paper previously circulated as:

Manzo, G., Baldassarri, D. (2012), "Cumulative Advantage, Symmetry Concern, and Status Inequality: An Agent-based Model of Deference Exchange in Dyadic Encounters", unpublished manuscript.
Manzo, G., Baldassarri, D. (2011), "Sirens and Grapes in the Emergence of Status Hierarchies", unpublished manuscript.

Minor writing. In 2012, the Italian analytical philosopher Gloria Origgi published a paper on reputation from the perspective of social epistemology. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective invited me to comment on this paper from the viewpoint of a social scientist. Thus, by taking examples from contemporary French politics, I reacted to Origgi's brilliant analysis by arguing that: 1/ the analysis of the generative mechanisms of actors’ reputation would gain generality if one accepts to consider reputation as an individual-level property with semi-relational bases rather than as a fully relational property as Origgi proposes; 2/  Origgi’s understanding of reputation as an epistemic device can be connected to recent psychological research on heuristic-based decision-making, thus opening new opportunities to push further the analysis of the generative mechanism of reputation as well as that of social mechanisms more generally.


Read the comment --Manzo, G. (2013). "Reputation and Social Mechanisms : A Comment on Origgi’s ‘A Social Epistemology of Reputation", Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, 2 (5) : 45-50.