Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Computational Social Science
EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), played by over 7 million individuals from around the globe from 2003 to the present. Within this virtual world EVE users create characters and identities, plan careers, form relationships, and start and join organizations. For scholars, this setting provides extra-ordinarily rich data, the opportunity to observe nationals from 150+ countries interacting in a common space, and some unique but revealing situations such as contrasting real world and virtual genders. In a series of papers Birnir, Waguespack and Dunford examine the structure of companies founded in EVE, participation in violence, and career track signaling.
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Do firm founders from nations with more predictable and transparent institutions
allocate more autonomy to their employees? A cultural imprinting view suggests that
institutions inculcate beliefs that operate beyond the environment in which those beliefs
originate. We leverage data from a multiplayer online role-playing game, EVE Online, a
setting where individuals can establish and run their own corporations. EVE players come
from around the world, but all face the same institutional environment within the game.
This setting allows us to disentangle, for the first time, cultural norms from the myriad
other local factors that will influence organizational design choices across nations. Our
main finding is that founders residing in nations with more predictable and transparent
real world institutions delegate more authority within the virtual firms they create.