The Matthew Effect

25 Feb

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In sociology, the Matthew effect (or accumulated advantage) is the phenomenon where “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”[1][2] In both its original and typical usage it is meant metaphorically to refer to issues of fame or status but it may also be used literally to refer to cumulative advantage of economic capital. The term was first coined by sociologist Robert K. Merton in 1968 and takes its name from a verse in the biblical Gospel of Matthew, pertaining to Jesus’ parable of the talents:

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken even that which he hath.

2 Responses to “The Matthew Effect”

  1. catterel February 25, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    Sad but true.

  2. stuartbramhall February 26, 2015 at 7:36 am #

    Interest. This is the first I’ve heard of the concept.

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