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Journal Article

When more selection is worse

Strategy Science 2 (1): 39–63
Jerker Denrell, Chengwei Liu, Gaël Le Mens (2017)
Strategy and general management
Organizational evolution, evolutionary economics, organizational ecology
We demonstrate a paradox of selection: the average level of skill among thesurvivors of selection may initially increase but eventually decrease. This result occurs ina simple model in which performance is not frequency dependent, there are no delayedeffects, and skill is unrelated to risk-taking. The performance of an agent in any givenperiod equals a skill component plus a noise term. We show that the average skill ofsurvivors eventually decreases when the noise terms in consecutive periods are dependentand drawn from a distribution with a “long” tail—a sub-class of heavy-tailed distributions.This result occurs because only agents with extremely high level of performance survivemany periods, and extreme performance is not diagnostic of high skill when the noiseterm is drawn from a long-tailed distribution.
© 2017, INFORMS
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