Coordination Dilemmas and The Critical Mass Problem

Kristin Kanthak

in The Diversity Paradox

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199891726
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933433 | DOI:
Coordination Dilemmas and The Critical Mass Problem

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Chapter 5 explores the reasons behind, and potential solutions for, asymmetric tokenism. The chapter shows that minority group members face a coordination problem when their group size grows to a critical mass, or the point at which they ought to be able to work together effectively. Minority group members remain “stuck” in the inefficient equilibrium of working with members of the majority. The chapter presents a simple evolutionary game theoretic model whereby coordination with “invaders” of an extant population becomes possible. The implications of that model are then tested using leadership PAC contributions from U.S. Senators, both to incumbents and challengers. A double-hurdle regression model provide evidence that although male Senate incumbents devalue both female incumbents and challengers, female Senate incumbents differentiate between incumbents and challengers in their valuation decisions. Specifically, women value challenger women more highly than incumbent women, indicating evidence of attempting to coordinate with potential newcomers.

Keywords: colleague valuation; tokenism; U.S. Senate; challengers; incumbents; evolutionary game theory; coordination problems; critical mass; asymmetric tokenism; leadership PACs; double-hurdle regression model

Chapter.  12094 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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