Inequality: Driver or inhibitor of collective action?

Christopher K. Frantz, Amineh Ghorbani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Inequality is considered one of the drivers for the emergence of collective action, but conventional wisdom suggests that it is equality among the stakeholders that helps sustain it. Nonetheless, more controversial findings in the collective action literature suggest that inequality can in fact be beneficial for the sustainability of collective action beyond its emergence. In this research, we use simulation to gain more insights into the relationship between inequality and collective action. We simulate an abstract common-pool resource system to model collective action and consider different types of inequality (e.g., wealth, social influence) to study its correlation with the sustainability of the system in terms of resource well-being, wealth levels and distribution. Preliminary results suggest that equality promotes sustained collective action, but also highlight that factors such as social influence and individual behavioural characteristics may be more decisive in determining the overall well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Simulation for a Digital Society
Subtitle of host publicationApplications and Innovations in Computational Social Science (SSC 2017)
EditorsDiane Payne, Pablo Lucas, Johan A. Elkink, Nial Friel, Adrian Ottewill, Thomas U. Grund, Tamara Hochstrasser
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-30298-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-30297-9
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventESSA Social Simulation Conference 2017 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 25 Sep 201729 Sep 2017


ConferenceESSA Social Simulation Conference 2017
Internet address


  • Clustering
  • Collective action
  • Inequality
  • Social influence
  • Social-value orientation
  • Wealth

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