Complex Systems

What Keeps a Vibrant Population Together? Download PDF

Jayati Deshmukh
Srinath Srinivasa
Sridhar Mandyam

International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore
Bangalore, Karnataka, India


Managing diversity is a challenging problem for organizations and governments. Diversity in a population may be of two kinds—acquired and innate. The former refers to diversity acquired by pre-existing social or organizational environments, attracting employees or immigrants because of their wealth and opportunities. Innate diversity, on the other hand, refers to a collection of pre-existing communities having to interact with one another and to build an overarching social or organizational identity. While acquired diversity has a prior element of common identity, innate diversity needs to build a common identity from a number of disparate regional or local identities. Diversity in any large population may have different extents of acquired and innate elements. In this paper, innate and acquired diversity are modeled in terms of two factors, namely: insularity and homophily, respectively. Insularity is the tendency of agents to act cooperatively only with others from the same community, which is often the primary challenge of innate diversity; while homophily is the tendency of agents to prefer members from their own community to start new social or business connections, which is often the primary challenge in acquired diversity. The emergence of network structure is studied when insularity and homophily are varied. In order to promote cooperation in a diverse population, the role played by a subset of agents called “global” agents who are not affected by homophily and insularity considerations is also studied. Simulation results show several interesting emergent properties. While the global agents are shown to acquire high betweenness, they are by no means the wealthiest or the most powerful in the network. However, the presence of global agents is important for the regional agents whose own wealth prospects increase because of their interaction with global agents.

Keywords: diversity; multi-agent systems; networks and prisoner’s dilemma

Cite this publication as:
J. Deshmukh, S. Srinivasa and S. Mandyam, “What Keeps a Vibrant Population Together?,” Complex Systems, 30(3), 2021 pp. 347–373.