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How diverse can spatial measures of cultural diversity be? Results from Monte Carlo simulations of an agent-based model

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Author Info

  • Daniel Arribas-Bel

    ()
    (University of Birmingham)

  • Peter Nijkamp

    ()
    (, VU University Amsterdam)

  • Jacques Poot

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

Abstract

Cultural diversity is a complex and multi-faceted concept. Commonly used quantitative measures of the spatial distribution of culturally-defined groups – such as segregation, isolation or concentration indexes – are often only capable of identifying just one aspect of this distribution. The strengths or weaknesses of any measure can only be comprehensively assessed empirically. This paper provides evidence on the empirical properties of various spatial measures of cultural diversity by using Monte Carlo replications of agent-based modeling (MC-ABM) simulations with synthetic data assigned to a realistic and detailed geographical context of the city of Amsterdam. Schelling’s classical segregation model is used as the theoretical engine to generate patterns of spatial clustering. The data inputs include the initial population, the number and shares of various cultural groups, and their preferences with respect to co-location. Our MC-ABM data generating process produces output maps that enable us to assess the performance of various spatial measures of cultural diversity under a range of demographic compositions and preferences. We find that, as our simulated city becomes more diverse, stable residential location equilibria are only possible when people, particularly minorities, become more tolerant. We test whether observed measures can be interpreted as revealing unobserved preferences for co-location of individuals with their own group and find that the segregation and isolation measures of spatial diversity are shown to be non-decreasing in increasing preference for within-group co-location, but the Gini coefficient and concentration measures are not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1422.

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Date of creation: Jun 2014
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1422

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Keywords: cultural diversity; spatial segregation; agent-based model; Monte Carlo simulation;

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  1. Maurel, Francoise & Sedillot, Beatrice, 1999. "A measure of the geographic concentration in french manufacturing industries," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 575-604, September.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1997. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," NBER Working Papers 5881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," NBER Working Papers 4840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. W. Clark, 1991. "Residential preferences and neighborhood racial segregation: A test of the schelling segregation model," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 1-19, February.
  5. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
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