Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial Cultural Market

  title={Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial Cultural Market},
  author={Matthew J. Salganik and Peter Sheridan Dodds and Duncan J. Watts},
  pages={854 - 856}
Hit songs, books, and movies are many times more successful than average, suggesting that “the best” alternatives are qualitatively different from “the rest”; yet experts routinely fail to predict which products will succeed. We investigated this paradox experimentally, by creating an artificial “music market” in which 14,341 participants downloaded previously unknown songs either with or without knowledge of previous participants' choices. Increasing the strength of social influence increased… 

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  • D. Watts
  • Computer Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2002
It is shown that heterogeneity plays an ambiguous role in determining a system's stability: increasingly heterogeneous thresholds make the system more vulnerable to global cascades; but anincreasingly heterogeneous degree distribution makes it less vulnerable.

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