Dominant group/Economics

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This two-page illustration portrays the powerful railroad monopoly as an octopus, with its many tentacles controlling such financial interests as the elite of Nob Hill, farmers, lumber interests, shipping, fruit growers, stage lines, mining, and the wine industry. Credit: G. Frederick Keller.

The term dominant group is a theoretical entity that is used within the social science of economics to indicate phenomena of importance.

In the social sciences such as sociology, it has been defined more precisely.

"Dominant group" may be used at least three fundamental ways:

  1. identification of an economic entity,
  2. in association with economics in some way, or
  3. in reference to a specific social group.

Dominant group[edit]

Main source: Dominant group

Examples from primary sources are to be used to prove or disprove each hypothesis. These can be collected per subject or in general.

  • Accident hypothesis: dominant group is an accident of whatever processes are operating.
  • Artifact hypothesis: dominant group may be an artifact of human endeavor or may have preceded humanity.
  • Association hypothesis: dominant group is associated in some way with the original research.
  • Bad group hypothesis: dominant group is the group that engages in discrimination, abuse, punishment, and additional criminal activity against other groups. It often has an unfair advantage and uses it to express monopolistic practices.
  • Control group hypothesis: there is a control group that can be used to study dominant group.
  • Entity hypothesis: dominant group is an entity within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  • Evolution hypothesis: dominant group is a product of evolutionary processes, such groups are the evolutionary process, produce evolutionary processes, or are independent of evolutionary processes.
  • Identifier hypothesis: dominant group is an identifier used by primary source authors of original research to identify an observation in the process of analysis.
  • Importance hypothesis: dominant group signifies original research results that usually need to be explained by theory and interpretation of experiments.
  • Indicator hypothesis: dominant group may be an indicator of something as yet not understood by the primary author of original research.
  • Influence hypothesis: dominant group is included in a primary source article containing original research to indicate influence or an influential phenomenon.
  • Interest hypothesis: dominant group is a theoretical entity used by scholarly authors of primary sources for phenomena of interest.
  • Metadefinition hypothesis: all uses of dominant group by all primary source authors of original research are included in the metadefinition for dominant group.
  • Null hypothesis: there is no significant or special meaning of dominant group in any sentence or figure caption in any refereed journal article.
  • Object hypothesis: dominant group is an object within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  • Obvious hypothesis: the only meaning of dominant group is the one found in Mosby's Medical Dictionary.
  • Original research hypothesis: dominant group is included in a primary source article by the author to indicate that the article contains original research.
  • Primordial hypothesis: dominant group is a primordial concept inherent to humans such that every language or other form of communication no matter how old or whether extinct, on the verge of extinction, or not, has at least a synonym for dominant group.
  • Purpose hypothesis: dominant group is written into articles by authors for a purpose.
  • Regional hypothesis: dominant group, when it occurs, is only a manifestation of the limitations within a region. Variation of those limitations may result in the loss of a dominant group with the eventual appearance of a new one or none at all.
  • Source hypothesis: dominant group is a source within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  • Term hypothesis: dominant group is a significant term that may require a 'rigorous definition' or application and verification of an empirical definition.


Main source: Values

Def. "a social group that controls the value system and rewards in a particular society"[1] is called a dominant group.

Def. "[a] hierarchy of values that all moral agents possess, demonstrated by their choices", per Wiktionary value system, is called a value system.

A value system is a set of consistent ethic values (more specifically the personal and cultural values) and measures used for the purpose of ethical or ideological integrity.

Def. "[s]omething of value given in return for an act"[2] is called a reward.

A process that reinforces behavior — something that, when offered, causes a behavior to increase in intensity is called a psychological reward.

Def. "the ethnic group in a society that exercises power to create and maintain a pattern of economic, political, and institutional advantage, which in turn results in the unequal (disproportionately beneficial to the dominant group) distribution of resources"[3] is called a dominant ethnic group.

A comparative advantage is when "one nation's [or individual's] opportunity cost of producing an item is less than another nation's opportunity cost of producing that item. A good or service with which a nation has the largest absolute advantage (or smallest absolute disadvantage) is the item for which they have a comparative advantage."[4]

Def. a group that "possesses a disproportionate share of societal resources, privileges, and power"[5] is called a dominant group.

The term economics may refer to a variety of phenomena.

Def. "[t]he study of resource allocation, distribution and consumption; of capital and investment; and of management of the factors of production", from economics, is called economics.

From the Wikipedia article definitions of economics:

Def. "a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses"[6] is called economics.


Def. a science that studies the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth is called economics.


"[S]ectors are identified as dominant firm, dominant group of firms, or fragmented sectors on the basis of 'outside' information about the sectors."[7]


Main source: Architectures

Notation: let the symbol g be a network of firms.

"The dominant group architecture, gdk , is characterized by one complete non-singleton component with k ≥ 2 firms and n − k singleton firms."[8]


"In continental Europe, one dominant group are regional or local savings banks."[9]

Capital and labor[edit]

Main sources: Income/Labor and Labor

"The dominant group exports capital to the minority group and the latter exports labor to the dominant group."[10]

"In his model, the government weighs up inflation, unemployment and labour market reforms, all of which are disliked by the majority in the electorate, who are also the dominant group in the labour market."[11]

"In Continental Europe the majority of executive managers are members of the dominant group, with ownership majority."[12]


"Cartels may fail when members socially distant from the dominant group defect."[13]

Def. "[a] group of businesses [or nations][14] that collude[15] to limit competition[16] within an industry or market"[15] is called a cartel.


In an article about "[a] general equilibrium model of statistical discrimination" by economists Andrea Moro and Peter Norman, the term 'dominant group' occurs fourteen times.

"The dominant group gains from discrimination, rationalizing why a majority may be reluctant to eliminate discrimination."[17] "While discrimination is always preferable for the dominant group it may simply not be sustainable in equilibrium."[17]

With respect to "Gains for the dominant group", "The monotone spillover effects also create an incentive to discriminate. If a certain group could choose between a symmetric equilibrium and an equilibrium where the other group is discriminated against they would always choose to discriminate the other group."[17]


“It might well repay the students of this subject to pass in review the voluminous evidence that could be brought to prove that these ideas were held almost unquestioningly by the dominant group of economists of that period.”[18]

"From the beginnings of political economy as a separate branch of study, two more or less conflicting conceptions of the subject have been present in the minds of men. According to one conception the aim of economics is to study prices, profits, and trade; according to the other, it is to study the relations between wealth and human welfare."[18]


"As Friedman shifts focus away from government and its regulation of capital, he focuses the limelight on a new dominant group: investors."[19]


"Unfavourable changes of the macroeconomic environment, which are caused not by any individual dominant group, but by big insiders taken as a social class, we call the external insider rent effect."[20]


"What we say on macroeconomic policy (of which we know little) receives much more attention than what we say on microeconomic policy (on which we know considerable). Stigler (1982) suggests that "society" (viewed as a collection of interest groups) is not stupid; it merely accepts that part of our policy advice that is in some dominant group's interest to accept."[21]


Main sources: Income/Monopolies and Monopolies

"If such a fringe existed and became a threat to the dominant firm then we would expect the dominant group, by predatory action, to do something about it."[22] Dominant firm is a relative synonym for "dominant group".

"Monopolistic market structures and their consequences have for long been part of established economic analysis ... However, real-world monopolies do not always fit the textbook categories ... The matter has been brought to a head in recent years by cases initiated by antitrust authorities against allegedly monopolistic firms ... These cases have served to highlight the inadequacies of traditional monopoly analysis ... From these cases has emerged a much better understanding of dominant firms."[23]

Def. “to exercise a dominant influence over the production, acquisition, supply or price of goods or services in that market”, from New Zealand's Commerce Act, Section 3(8), is called a dominant position in that market.

"Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the common market or in a substantial part of it shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market insofar as it may affect trade between member states.", Article 86 of the Treaty of Rome.

"Dominance is a measure of market power. Being in a ‘dominant position’ is interpreted ... as having sufficient market power (economic strength) ... to behave to an appreciable extent in a discretionary manner without suffering detrimental effects in the relevant market(s). This interpretation stresses independence of behaviour, i.e., conduct that is pursued independently of the presence, actions or reactions of existing or potential competitors, purchasers or suppliers.", in Magnum Corporation Ltd./Dominion Breweries (1987).

"Many African countries attempted to undertake institutional reforms after independence. Unfortunately, a few urban elites still dominated the process; the masses were not enfranchised and provided with opportunities to participate effectively in the design of the rules. As a result, many of the institutional arrangements produced by these latter-day reform efforts were inefficient and produced Leviathan states whose redistributive powers were regularly used by the politically dominant groups to amass wealth for themselves."[24]

"In each instance, the politically dominant group is attempting to design a constitution that will legitimize its hold on power and allow it to continue to monopolize resource allocation."[24]

"In 1972, the ruling elites in Cameroon hurriedly put together a constitution that abolished the country's federal system and made Cameroon a one-party dictatorship."[24] Bold added.


The phrase 'dominant group' occurs three times in an article on 'Networks of collaboration in oligopoly'.[25]

  1. "Specifically, we show that networks with the dominant group architecture, stars, and inter-linked stars are stable.",
  2. "In addition, networks with a large dominant group and several isolated firms are also stable.", and
  3. "In particular, the complete network, where every firm has a collaboration link with every other firm, and the network with a dominant group, which contains a large number of completely connected firms and several isolated firms, appear to be stable under different competitive environments."[25]

"[U]nder moderate competition, spillovers may have the effect of lowering the level of collaborations."[25]

For evaluating the effects of entry regulation on oligopolistic interaction, "[l]et there be two groups of firms, call them D (for the dominant group) and F (for the fringe)."[26] The results from an analysis of "the effects of entry restrictions on conduct ... are consistent with a [Heinrich Freiherr von Stackelberg] von Stackelberg type of industry where the degree of oligopolistic interaction among the leading firms is reduced as a consequence of the relaxation of the legal entry barriers."[26]

Producer networks[edit]

Main sources: Income/Producers and Producers

"When only the lowest-cost producer(s) make positive profits, then the network takes on a dominant group architecture: there is a (small) complete subnetwork of the low-cost producers, accompanied by the remainder of firms all of which are isolated. This network structure also emerges when costs of link formation are high, and competition is Cournot."[27]


Main sources: Income/Consumers and Consumers

"Accordingly, in any voluntary agency where authority is vested in a non-consumer group, the nature and degree of consumer participation will depend, amongst other factors, upon the way in which the dominant group defines and applies the term itself. Will the semantics of participation be used to provide consumers with access to powerful positions within voluntary agencies or will the very definition attributed to the term serve to re-inforce a role of passivity and powerlessness?"[28]

Power tools[edit]

"In turn, electric tools, the dominant group, can be further broken down by specific products (drills, saws, other, and parts and accessories) and by power source (plug-in and cordless)."[29]

Relative dominant groups[edit]

The subject designation such as "economics" is placed at the beginning of the search stream, e.g., "economics class sect superior rules".

Number of articles on Google scholar.
Genera Differentia Popularity in articles Small group study area Popularity "Dominant group" overlap Concept usage
class sect superior rules 88,900 Economics 28,400 5,460 22,940
class sect superior rules 88,900 Economics, opposite end 27,500 12,600 14,900

The first test in economics indicates that the "dominant group" definition using the genera differentia "class sect superior rules", not necessarily in any order, may not have usage close to that of "dominant group".

In the article cited following: "sect" is used as "section", sections of the article itself, "class" usually refers to a "class of test statistics", "superior" refers to a "superior predictive ability", and "rules" refers to "decision rules" or "trading rules".[30] A definition of "dominant group" per preceding cited article may be

Def. a superior class [of test statistics] that [influences] [decision or trading rules] in a specific section [of the article] is called a dominant group.

Other definitions are likely. In the above article, the word "dominant" and the term "dominant group" did not occur.

A second article suggests some other situations. In the citation following, "class" refers to "A majority group, say, the workers, who control the policy might rationally choose to have a constitution which limits their power, say, to expropriate the wealth of the capitalist class.", "the class of feedback policy rules", and "[t]he most general class of decision policies"; "sect" refers to article sections again; "rules" refers to "policy rules" or "decision rules"; and "superior" refers to "Typically the iterative process of the policy rule change inducing investment function change inducing policy rule change, etc., did converge. Given that it converges, the limiting policy rule is consistent in the sense described in Sections I1 and IV. In all cases for which it did converge, we searched for and found linear feedback policy rules which were superior to this consistent rule, typically by a substantial amount."[31] In this article "dominant group" does not occur but "dominant" does: "dominant player", "dominant firm", and "[f]or policy selection, the policymaker is dominant".[31]

Here a "dominant group" definition is very similar to the above yet may be

Def. a superior class of [policy or decision] rules described in a section of the article is called a dominant group.

These two examples are closer to a genus differentia definition.

A third article is not too different from the first two. Per the following citation: "class" occurs over 100 times in the article and refers to class of stock, as in "superior class of stock", class A shares owned by corporate insiders of top management, class B are the inferior class of stock; "sect" refers again to "section" of the article; "superior" as already indicated; and "rules" refers to takeover rules benefitting the insiders and "voting rules" also benefitting insiders.[32]

Def. a superior class [of stock owned by the corporate insiders] rules [takeover gains and voting for the insiders] is called a dominant group of stock.

Each of the "dominant group" definitions requires additional words to clarify what's happening; i.e., to make the definition more precise to the specific situations.


The genera differentia for possible definitions of "dominant group" fall into the following set of orderable pairs:

Genera differentia for "dominant group"[33]
Synonym for "dominant" Category Number Category Title Synonym for "group" Category Number Catgeory Title
“superior” 36 SUPERIORITY "arrangement" 60 ARRANGEMENT
“influential” 171 INFLUENCE "class" 61 CLASSIFICATION
“musical note” 462 HARMONICS "assembly" 74 ASSEMBLAGE
“most important” 670 IMPORTANCE "size" 194 SIZE
“governing” 739 GOVERNMENT "painting", "grouping" 572 ART
"master" 747 MASTER "association", "set" 786 ASSOCIATION
----- --- ------- "sect" 1018 RELIGIONS, CULTS, SECTS

'Orderable' means that any synonym from within the first category can be ordered with any synonym from the second category to form an alternate term for "dominant group"; for example, "superior class", "influential sect", "master assembly", "most important group", and "dominant painting". "Dominant" falls into category 171. "Group" is in category 61. Further, any word which has its most or much more common usage within these categories may also form an alternate term, such as "ruling group", where "ruling" has its most common usage in category 739, or "dominant party", where "party" is in category 74. "Taxon" or "taxa" are like "species" in category 61. "Society" is in category 786 so there is a "dominant society".


Main source: Hypotheses
  1. When money, greed or its equivalent is involved there are always dominant groups.

See also[edit]


  1. Farlex (2009). The Free Dictionary by Farlex: Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. Elsevier. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  2. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 3556: bad argument #1 to 'pairs' (table expected, got nil).
  3. Ashley W. Doane Jr. (June 1997). "Dominant Group Ethnic Identity in the United States". The Sociological Quarterly 38 (3): 375-97. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.1997.tb00483.x. 
  4. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 3556: bad argument #1 to 'pairs' (table expected, got nil).
  5. Eric D. Knowles, Kaiping Peng (August 2005). "White selves: conceptualizing and measuring a dominant-group identity". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 89 (2): 223-41. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.89.2.223. 
  6. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 3556: bad argument #1 to 'pairs' (table expected, got nil).
  7. Donald A. Hay, Guy S. Liu (May 1998). "When do Firms go in for Growth by Acquisitions?". Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 60 (2): 143-65. doi:10.1111/1468-0084.00092. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  8. Sanjeev Goyal, José Luis Moraga-González (2002). Firms, networks and markets: A survey of recent research. pp. 30. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  9. Hendrik Hakenes, Isabel Schnabel (November 1, 2010). "The threat of capital drain: A rationale for regional public banks?". Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics JITE 166 (4): 662-89. doi:10.1628/093245610793524884. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  10. Ralph W. Pfouts (October 1977). "Review Article: Another Quandary for Economic Theory?". Southern Economic Journal 44 (2): 342-7. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  11. Deborah Mabbett, Waltraud Schelkle (March 2007). "Bringing Macroeconomics Back into the Political Economy of Reform: the Lisbon Agenda and the 'Fiscal Philosophy' of EMU". JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 45 (1): 81-103. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5965.2007.00704.x. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  12. Themistokles Lazarides, Evaggelos Drimpetas (2010). "Corporate governance regulatory convergence: a remedy for the wrong problem". International Journal of Law and Management 52 (3): 182-92. doi:10.1108/17542431011044634. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  13. Mark Granovetter (Winter 2005). "The impact of social structure on economic outcomes". The Journal of Economic Perspectives 19 (1): 33-50.$file/Granovetter%20struct%20and%20outcomes.pdf. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  14. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 3556: bad argument #1 to 'pairs' (table expected, got nil).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 3556: bad argument #1 to 'pairs' (table expected, got nil).
  16. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 3556: bad argument #1 to 'pairs' (table expected, got nil).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Andrea Moro and Peter Norman (January 2004). "A general equilibrium model of statistical discrimination". Journal of Economic Theory 114 (1): 1-30. doi:10.1016/S0022-0531(03)00165-0. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Frank A. Fetter (September 1920). "Price Economics Versus Welfare Economics". The American Economic Review 10 (3): 467-87. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  19. R. Edward Freeman, Kirsten Martin and Bidhan Parmar (September 2007). "Stakeholder capitalism". Journal of Business Ethics 74 (4): 303-14. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9517-y. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  20. Rusian Dzarasov (2011). "Eichnerian megacorp and investment behaviour of Russian corporations". Cambridge Journal of Economics 35 (1): 199-217. doi:10.1093/cje/bep081. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  21. Irving Hoch (December 1984). "Retooling the mainstream". American Journal of Agricultural Economics 66 (5): 793-7. doi:10.2307/1241000. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  22. Keith Cowling and Dennis C. Mueller (September 1981). "The Social Costs of Monopoly Power Revisited". The Economic Journal 91 (363): 721-5. Retrieved 2012-01-31. 
  23. D. Hay and J. Vickers (1986). D. Hay and J. Vickers, ed. The Economics of Market Dominance. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 1. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 John Mukum Mbaku (March 22, 1998). "Constitutional engineering and the transition to democracy in post-Cold War Africa". The Independent Review 2 (4). Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Sanjeev Goyal and Sumit Joshi (April 2003). "Networks of Collaboration in Oligopoly". Games and Economic Behavior 43 (1): 57-85. doi:10.1016/S0899-8256(02)00562-6. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 Pablo T. Spiller and Edgardo Favaro (Summer 1984). "The effects of entry regulation on oligopolistic interaction: The Uruguayan banking sector". The Rand Journal of Economics 15 (2): 244-54. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  27. Robin Cowan (2005). Stefano Breschi and Franco Malerba, ed. Network Models of Innovation and Knowledge Diffusion, In: Clusters, Networks, And Innovation. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 29–53. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  28. Robert F. Drake (1992). "Consumer Participation: The Voluntary Sector and the Concept of Power". Disability, Handicap & Society 7 (3): 267-78. doi:10.1080/02674649266780271. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  29. Andrew Gross (July 2006). "The Global Market for Power Tools". Business Economics 41 (3): 66-73. doi:10.2145/20060309. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  30. Peter Reinhard Hansen (October 2005). "A Test for Superior Predictive Ability". Journal of Business and Economic Statistics 23 (4): 365-80. doi:10.1198/073500105000000063. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 Finn E. Kydland; Edward C. Prescott (June 1977). "Rules Rather than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans". The Journal of Political Economy 85 (3): 473-92. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  32. Richard S. Ruback (January-March 1988). "Coercive Dual Class Exchange Offers". Journal of Financial Economics 20 (1): 153-73. doi:10.1016/0304-405X(88)90043-8. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  33. Peter Mark Roget (1969). Lester V. Berrey and Gorton Carruth, ed. Roget's International Thesaurus, third edition. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company. p. 1258. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Guy Ankerl, Beyond Monopoly Capitalism and Monopoly Socialism. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Schenkman Pbl., 1978. ISBN0870739387
  • "The World Price of Insider Trading" by Utpal Bhattacharya and Hazem Daouk in the Journal of Finance, Vol. LVII, No. 1 (Feb. 2002)

External links[edit]

{{Dominant group}}{{Economics resources}}{{History of science resources}}{{Semantics resources}}{{Terminology resources}}