David Melamed, Ohio State University

Thu April 25th 2024, 12:30 - 1:45pm
David Melamed Professor of Sociology at Ohio State University

Title:  How to Stop the Emergence of Segregation in Cooperative Networks


Abstract: Cooperation among animals is a paradox because individuals are better off not cooperating with others. One prevalent explanation for the high levels of cooperation we observe among humans is the effect of the network structures in which we are embedded. Clustering structurally insulates cooperators, enabling high rates of cooperation within network communities or clusters. At the same time, we know that networks are clustered by demographic attributes. Taken together, the result is demographically similar clusters with high rates of cooperation. That is, these two processes generate the emergence of cooperative but segregated clusters. Here we present two studies on these processes. Study 1 documents the results described above, and study two systematically varies types of reputations. We find that we can eliminate the emergence of segregation by altering the types of reputations that are used in the networks. I conclude with a discussion of reducing segregation in polarized contexts.