Paradigm shifts and the interplay between state, business and civil sectors

R Soc Open Sci. 2016 Dec 21;3(12):160753. doi: 10.1098/rsos.160753. eCollection 2016 Dec.


The recent rise of the civil sector as a main player of socio-political actions, next to public and private sectors, has largely increased the complexity underlying the interplay between different sectors of our society. From urban planning to global governance, analysis of these complex interactions requires new mathematical and computational approaches. Here, we develop a novel framework, grounded on evolutionary game theory, to envisage situations in which each of these sectors is confronted with the dilemma of deciding between maintaining a status quo scenario or shifting towards a new paradigm. We consider multisector conflicts regarding environmentally friendly policies as an example of application, but the framework developed here has a considerably broader scope. We show that the public sector is crucial in initiating the shift, and determine explicitly under which conditions the civil sector-reflecting the emergent reality of civil society organizations playing an active role in modern societies-may influence the decision-making processes accruing to other sectors, while fostering new routes towards a paradigm shift of the society as a whole. Our results are shown to be robust to a wide variety of assumptions and model parametrizations.

Keywords: complexity; evolutionary dynamics; governance; multiple sectors; policy.