Quantifying the selective, stochastic, and complementary drivers of the institutional evolution in online communities [article]

Qiankun Zhong, Seth Frey, Martin Hilbert
2022 arXiv   pre-print
Institutions and cultures evolve adaptively in response to the current environmental incentives, usually. But sometimes institutional change is due to stochastic drives beyond current fitness, including drift, path dependency, blind imitation, and complementary cooperation in fluctuating environments. Disentangling the selective and stochastic components of social system change enables us to identify the key features to organizational development in the long run. Evolutionary approaches provide
more » ... organizational science abundant theories to demonstrate organizational evolution by tracking particular beneficial or harmful features. We measure these different drivers empirically in institutional evolution among 20,000 Minecraft communities with the help of two of the most applied evolutionary models, the Price equation and the bet-hedging model. As a result, we find strong selection pressure on administrative rules and information rules, suggesting that their positive correlation with community fitness is the main reason for their frequency change. We also find that stochastic drives decrease the average frequency of administrative rules. The result makes sense when explained in light of evolutionary bet-hedging. We show through the bet-hedging result that institutional diversity contributes to the growth and stability of rules related to information, communication, and economic behaviors.
arXiv:2204.12521v2 fatcat:6kwj3gjymbgr5c2nyip6ot7yle