How Does a Divided Population Respond to Change?

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Most studies on the response of socioeconomic systems to a sudden shift focus on long-term equilibria or end points. Such narrow focus forgoes many valuable insights. Here we examine the

Most studies on the response of socioeconomic systems to a sudden shift focus on long-term equilibria or end points. Such narrow focus forgoes many valuable insights. Here we examine the transient dynamics of regime shift on a divided population, exemplified by societies divided ideologically, politically, economically, or technologically. Replicator dynamics is used to investigate the complex transient dynamics of the population response. Though simple, our modeling approach exhibits a surprisingly rich and diverse array of dynamics. Our results highlight the critical roles played by diversity in strategies and the magnitude of the shift. Importantly, it allows for a variety of strategies to arise organically as an integral part of the transient dynamics-as opposed to an independent process-of population response to a regime shift, providing a link between the population's past and future diversity patterns. Several combinations of different populations' strategy distributions and shifts were systematically investigated. Such rich dynamics highlight the challenges of anticipating the response of a divided population to a change. The findings in this paper can potentially improve our understanding of a wide range of socio-ecological and technological transitions.