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Knowledge Creation as a Square Dance on the Hilbert Cube

Discussion Papers


by Marcus Berliant and FUJITA Masahisa
October 2004


This paper presents a micro-model of knowledge creation and transfer in a small group of people. Our model incorporates two key aspects of the cooperative process of knowledge creation: (i) heterogeneity of people in their state of knowledge is essential for successful cooperation in the joint creation of new ideas, while (ii) the very process of cooperative knowledge creation a¤ects the heterogeneity of people through the accumulation of knowledge in common. The model features myopic agents in a pure externality model of interaction. In the two person case, we show that the equilibrium process tends to result in the accumulation of too much knowledge in common compared to the most productive state. Unlike the two-person case, in the four person case we show that the equilibrium process of knowledge creation may converge to the most productive state. Equilibrium paths are found analytically, and they are a discontinuous function of initial heterogeneity.

Keywords: Knowledge Creation, Square Dance, Hilbert Cube, Heterogeneity
JEL classification: D83, O31, R11

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