Research Projects

Meritocracy and Topocracy of Networks



In this project, a network market is studied mathematically, where individuals obtain resources from two channels: individual talent and intermediation benefits (by connecting transactions of individuals not directly connected). We define a society as meritocratic when the income of the society comes mostly from the talent of the individual and a society as topographic to the contrary. Our model shows that in an Erdos-Renyi network, the connectivity of the network, measured by the average number of connections of each subject must be greater than the root of the number of subjects involved in the market.

Fig. Transition from a topography to a meritocracy in a network of N = 250a as its connectivity increases. The size of each circle represents talent. If a circle is greener, it indicates that your income depends on your talent. If they are blue, they depend more on their position in the network.


The development of mathematical models that describe in a stylized way the forces that operate in a given social domain – a networked market in this case – allows to illuminate the mechanisms that underlie macro phenomena -the meritocracy in this case- and, therefore, speculate about the impact of exogenous changes such as the impact on connectivity associated with technological developments.



César Hildago

Principal Researcher

Ph.D. in Physics, University of Notre Dame.

Carlos Rodríguez-Sickert

Ph.D. en Economía, Universidad de Cambridge.



Borondo, J., Borondo, F., Rodriguez-Sickert, C., & Hidalgo, C. A. (2014). To each according to its degree: The meritocracy and topocracy of embedded markets. Scientific reports4, 3784.


“El grito de César Hidalgo” – Revista Capital

Carlos Rodríguez-Sickert en Un País Generoso – Radio Zero


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Acreditado por 5 años

Desde julio 2019 hasta julio 2024

Agencia: Acreditado por la Comisión Nacional de Acreditación (CNA)