Can stable social groups be maintained by homophilous imitation alone?

Richard Durrett, Simon Asher Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A central problem in the biological and social sciences concerns the conditions required for emergence and maintenance of cooperation among unrelated individuals. Most models and experiments have been pursued in a game-theoretic context and involve reward or punishment. Here, we show that such payoffs are unnecessary, and that stable social groups can sometimes be maintained provided simply that agents are more likely to imitate others who are like them (homophily). In contrast to other studies, to sustain multiple types we need not impose the restriction that agents also choose to make their opinions different from those in other groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-286
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Cooperation
  • Group dynamics
  • Group formation
  • Homophily
  • Mathematical model
  • Social norms


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