Life Without Norm Entrepreneurs

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When norm entrepreneurs are absent from the system, two types of macro patterns emerge in the simulations. Depending upon the noise levels in the system, the simulation exhibits a strict dichotomy between stability and volatility in the system. Figures 4.2 and 4.3 are typical runs without norm entrepreneurs. As the noise in the system increases the simulation switches from stable to volatile. Each figure reports the average predictions (group outcome) made in each round by the agent population over one thousand rounds. Each of these simulations was run with ten agents and a precision level of 5 percent. The only variable altered from run to run was the level of noise added to the average prediction. In Figure 4.2, the predictions reach a stable level relatively quickly as the agents arrive at the same rule. As the noise increases in figure 4.3, however, the agents are unable to come to agreement and thus the average predictions fluctuate wildly.

These figures demonstrate that when the noise level is low enough, the agents hit upon the dominant rule (often very quickly) in the system, rule 4.30 As the noise increases (as the agents are less able to see the true outcome and are thus less certain about its appropriateness), the agents are unable to come to agreement on any rule and the average prediction reflects this uncertainty. The agents are unable to find a rule that can be intersub-jectively agreed upon and thus the agents continually cycle through rules.

Without norm entrepreneurs the agents' actions produce either a volatile or incredibly stable macro pattern with a strict breakpoint between the two types of patterns. The macro patterns, in turn, alter/reinforce agent behavior and identity (constituting agents) leading to cycling in rule use or the domination of a single rule. The dynamism of the system is either out of control (volatility) or disappears (stability). We see the natural norm emerge or no norm at all. However, this simple set of outcomes does have interesting implications. The model suggests that there are situations where norm entrepreneurs are entirely unnecessary for norm emergence. When an idea is intrinsically attractive and the social complexity is low enough such that all the agents can appreciate the attractiveness of the idea, the idea can become a norm without any entrepreneurial effort.31

Figure 4.2

Population Predictions—Low Noise, No Entrepreneur

90 80 70

10 Agents, 6% noise, 5% precision

90 80 70

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Figure 4.3

Population Predictions—High Noise, No Entrepreneur

10 Agents, 10% noise, 5% precision

Figure 4.3

Population Predictions—High Noise, No Entrepreneur

10 Agents, 10% noise, 5% precision


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