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Sunday, January 19th, 2014

The Mental Model of Cumulative Advantage (“The Matthew Effect”)


The Principle of Cumulative Advantage, as noted on, states that:

“…once a social agent gains a small advantage over other agents, that advantage will compound over time into an increasingly larger advantage.”

Cumulative Advantage is sometimes known as The Matthew Effect or Accumulated Advantage or “the rich get richer, the poor get poorer”.

A common example of Cumulative Advantage is that a prize will almost always be awarded to the most senior researcher involved in a project, even if all the work was done by a graduate student. The senior researched has accumulated that advantage.

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