Tutorial: Balkanization

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Welcome to the Balkanization Tutorial.

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

This tutorial contains graphical demonstrations of propositions obtained in a paper of the same title, written by Marshall Van Alstyne and Eric Brynjolfsson. An early version of this paper received the award for Best Paper on the conference theme at the 17th International Conference on Information Systems, Cleveland, OH (Dec. 1996). It is not necessary to be familiar with the paper in order to understand this tutorial. However, readers are encouranged to peruse the paper for more details of the model as well as a more in-depth discussion of its consequences.

All of the experiments described in this tutorial and many others can be easily conducted using the Balkanization Wizard, which can be run at the end of the tutorial.


  1. Introduction
    1. The Emerging Global Village?
    2. What is Balkanization?
  2. The Society Model
    1. Representing Agents
    2. Interconnections Among Agents
    3. The Index of Balkanized Affiliation
  3. A Simple Model of Increasing Access
    1. Increasing Access Without a Rationality Bound
    2. First Results
    3. Increasing Access With Limited Rationality
    4. A More Sophisticated Graph
  4. Balkanization in a Probabilistic Model
    1. What if agents desire diversity
    2. A Probabilistic Society Model
    3. Diversity-Seeking Agents Tend To Lower Balkanization
    4. Even With Randomness, Increasing Access Can Lead to More Balkanization
    5. Increasing Access can Decrease Balkanization
    6. Intermediary Values
  5. Closing Remarks
  6. Technical Appendix
    1. Other Measures of Balkanization and Similarity
    2. Simulator Details
    3. Calculating Balkanization Measures

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