While originally developed by Merton to explain advancement in science careers, cumulative advantage is a general mechanism for inequality across any temporal process (e.g., life course, family generations) in which a favorable relative position becomes a resource that produces further relative gains. We show that the term “cumulative advantage” has come to have multiple meanings in the sociological literature. We distinguish between these alternative forms, discuss mechanisms that have been proposed in the literature that might produce cumulative advantage, and review the empirical literature in the areas of education, work careers, and related life course processes.
KEYWORDS: Inequality, Life Course, Careers, Cumulative Advantage
Thomas A. DiPrete
Gregory M. Eirich
Coaches are in a very good position to incorporate Accumulative Advantage in their practice. David Tate, Veni Vidi Vici has incorporated Accumulative Advantage (sometimes known as the Mathew effect)