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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.509

CiteScore 2018: 0.23

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.232
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.478

Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2009, Issue 175


Universities as producers of evolutionarily stable signs of excellence for academic labor markets?

Georg P. Mueller
Published Online: 2009-06-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2009.056


This article presents a simulation model of the production and the use of university diplomas as signs of excellence for academic labor markets. The model pays special attention to the decoding of such diplomas by the employers, who use them for selectively hiring jobseekers, whose diplomas differ with regard to performance, costs, and reputation. The model further assumes that for new, unknown diplomas, reputation is more important for recruitment purposes than real performance. Thus, the reputation of new diplomas influences their chances on the labor market as well as their attractiveness for future students. This has obviously consequences for their long-term market shares, which are simulated on the computer for the case of a competition between an established and a new diploma. It turns out that the cost-performance-space of diplomas contains niches of partial evolutionary stability, where established diplomas are able to defend their monopolistic dominance against the competition by certain types of new diplomas. The number and the places of such niches of stability seem to depend on institutional learning processes of the labor market and the reputation based strategies of the employers for the decoding of new diplomas.

Keywords:: organizational semiotics; social simulation; encoding/decoding of university diplomas; labor markets; reputation management; evolutionary stability

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Published Online: 2009-06-05

Published in Print: 2009-06-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2009, Issue 175, Pages 429–450, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2009.056.

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