Dynamics and Diversity in Epistemic Communities

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O'Connor, Cailin; Bruner, Justin
preprint description
Bruner (2017) shows that in cultural interactions, members of minority groups will learn to interact with members of majority groups more quickly---minorities tend to meet majorities more often as a brute fact of their respective numbers---and, as a result, may come to be disadvantaged in situations where they divide resources. In this paper, we discuss the implications of this effect for epistemic communities. We use evolutionary game theoretic methods to show that minority groups can end up disadvantaged in academic interactions like bargaining and collaboration as a result of this effect. These outcomes are more likely, in our models, the smaller the minority group. They occur despite assumptions that majority and minority groups do not differ with respect to skill level, personality, preference, or competence of any sort. Furthermore, as we will argue, these disadvantaged outcomes for minority groups may negatively impact the progress of epistemic communities.