The Dynamics of Continuous Cultural Traits in Social Networks

Tim Hellman (University of Bielefeld) will talk about "The Dynamics of Continuous Cultural Traits in Social Networks" -- see abstract below and paper.

Tim has visited DEC this spring, attending many aperitivo talks, and this is our chance to say goodbye to him. We hope many will attend. His talk will format-wise differ a bit from the usual ones, by being more on theory and less on experimentation. Yet Tim has at least promised to tell us if, how & why his work may inspire experimental studies.

Where: BELSS -- our experimental lab on the 3rd floor of the Roentgen building
When: Tuesday June 3 at 17.30-18.20+
Afterwards: we go for a post-seminar aperitivo

If you have questions, contact Martin Dufwenberg (, Josh Miller (, or Fabrizio Iozzi (

Abstract: "The Dynamics of Continuous Cultural Traits in Social Networks" (by Berno Buechel, Tim Hellmann and Michael Pichler) We consider an overlapping generations model where continuous cultural traits are transmitted from an adult generation to the child ren. A weighted social network describes how children are influenced not only by their parents but also by other role models within the society. Parents can invest into the purposeful socialization of their children by strategically displaying a cultural trait (which need not coincide with their true cultural trait). We observe a cultural substitution effect when parents choose their behavior optimally. Based on Nash equilibrium behavior, we then study the dynamics of cultural traits throughout generations. These converge if parent’s influence on their children is large enough compared to the social environment’s influence. Under convergent dynamics, closed subgroups fully assimilate, while heterogeneous traits prevail in the other groups. Speed of convergence is low when parents’ incentives to socialize their children to the own trait are high.