To Each According to its Degree: The Meritocracy and Topocracy of Embedded Markets

J. Borondo, F. Borondo, C. Rodriguez-Sickert, C. A. Hidalgo, education.au, Jan 22, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting paper. "A system is said to be meritocratic if the compensation and power available to individuals is determined by their abilities and merits. A system is topocratic if the compensation and power available to an individual is determined primarily by her position in a network." Different structures create networks that are either meritocratic or topocratic. This paper introduces "a model that is perfectly meritocratic for fully connected networks but that becomes topocratic for sparse networks-like the ones in society." In particular, "the model predicts that meritocracy increases in societies that become better connected." This (to me) has implications for public policy (and education policy) - for example, open acccess (by implication) increases meritocracy.

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