Access and Stratification

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The Effect of Access on Connections

Note: in order to run the simulation referred to in this slide, go here, to the Java Applet version. You will be directed to download the latest version of the Java plug-in.

Let's start with a situation of purely local neighborhoods in which no one can reach more than two other agents in their neighborhood. Agents want to reach one another but are restricted by access. In the figure to the left, access has been set to two, which means that agents are only capable of establishing communications with the two agents closest to them. Press "Go" to see connections form under purely local access.

Consider that "access" is the fraction of the population that any given agent can reach because they also have access to information technology infrastructure. Ideally, "Universal Access" would mean that everyone can reach everyone else. Since it's possible to reach everyone in a virtual neighborhood, not just a physical neighborhood, agents across the system can reach one another. However, suppose we increase the access, but leave the agent channel count at two (i.e. agents still only have the time to communicate with two people per time period). In this situation, who will talk to whom?

You can type in a new value for access in the box to the left and press "Go" to see how this affects the connections. If you want to set access to Universal, or unrestricted access, you can select the maximum number, 10. Try setting the access to Universal in this way and see who connects to whom.

You should see that with universal access, the most knowledgable agents connect to each other, as do the least knowledgable agents.

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