A diagram of the Ripple effect illustrating how the "Weinstein Scandal" led all the way to the rise of the Me Too movement.

A ripple effect occurs when an initial disturbance to a system propagates outward to disturb an increasingly larger portion of the system, like ripples expanding across the water when an object is dropped into it.

The ripple effect is often used colloquially to mean a multiplier in macroeconomics. For example, an individual's reduction in spending reduces the incomes of others and their ability to spend.[1] In a broader global context, research has shown how monetary policy decisions, especially by major economies like the US, can create ripple effects impacting economies worldwide, emphasizing the interconnectedness of today's global economy. [2]

In sociology, the ripple effect can be observed in how social interactions can affect situations not directly related to the initial interaction,[3][page needed] and in charitable activities where information can be disseminated and passed from the community to broaden its impact.[4]

The concept has been applied in computer science within the field of software metrics as a complexity measure.[5]


The Weinstein effect and the rise of the Me Too movement

In October 2017, according to The New York Times[6][circular reference][7] and The New Yorker,[8] dozens of women have accused American film producer Harvey Weinstein, former founder of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company, of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse for over a period of three decades. Shortly after over eighty accusations, Harvey was dismissed from his own company, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other professional associations, and even retired from public view. The allegations against him results in the Weinstein effect, a global trend involving a serial number of sexual misconduct allegations towards other famous men in Hollywood, such as Louis CK and Kevin Spacey.[9] The effect led to the formation of the controversial Me Too movement, where people share their experiences of sexual harassment/assault.[10][11]

Corporate social responsibility

The effects of one company's decision to adopt a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme on the attitudes and behaviours of rival companies has been likened to a ripple effect. Research by an international team in 2018 found that in many cases, one company's CSR initiative was seen as a competitive threat to other businesses in the same market, resulting in the adoption of further CSR initiatives.[12]

See also


  1. ^ The Economic Ripple Effect Gone Awry.
  2. ^ Thomas, Lina (2023). "US Monetary Policy Spillovers and Spillbacks". SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.4370886.
  3. ^ Development sociology By Norman Long, Routledge ISBN 978-0-415-23536-5
  4. ^ Experience needed to make VSO's 'ripple effect' work The Guardian 17 September 2004.
  5. ^ Black, Sue (2001). "Computing ripple effect for software maintenance". Journal of Software Maintenance and Evolution: Research and Practice. 13 (4): 263–279. doi:10.1002/smr.233. ISSN 1532-060X.
  6. ^ "Harvey Weinstein".
  7. ^ Kantor, Jodi; Twohey, Megan (5 October 2017). "Harvey Weinstein Paid off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades". The New York Times.
  8. ^ "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories". The New Yorker. 10 October 2017.
  9. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (23 October 2017). "A Long-Delayed Reckoning of the Cost of Silence on Abuse". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Powerful men confronted as "Weinstein Effect" goes global". CBS News.
  11. ^ Worthen, Meredith (2017-12-21). "100 Powerful Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct in 2017". Biography.com. Archived from the original on 2017-12-28.
  12. ^ Shuzhen, S., Corporate social responsibility programmes have ripple effects on other businesses, study says, Singapore Management University, published 3 September 2018, accessed 25 October 2023