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The cultural evolution of age-at-marriage norms

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Author Info

  • Francesco C. Billari

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Alexia Prskawetz

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Johannes Fürnkranz

Abstract

We present an agent-based model designed to study the cultural evolution of age-at-marriage norms. We review theoretical arguments and empirical evidence on the existence of norms proscribing marriage outside of an acceptable age interval. Using a definition of norms as constraints built in agents, we model the transmission of norms, and of mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of norms. Agents can marry each other only if they share part of the acceptable age interval. We perform several simulation experiments on the evolution across generations. In particular, we study the conditions under which norms persist in the long run, the impact of initial conditions, the role of random mutations, and the impact of social influence. Although the agent-based model we use is highly stylized, it gives important insights on the societal-level dynamics of life-course norms.

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File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2002-018.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2002-018.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: May 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2002-018

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Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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  1. Joshua M. Epstein & Robert L. Axtell, 1996. "Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550253, December.
  2. Felix Flentge & Daniel Polani & Thomas Uthmann, 2001. "Modelling the Emergence of Possession Norms Using Memes," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 4(4), pages 3.
  3. Epstein, Joshua M, 2001. "Learning to Be Thoughtless: Social Norms and Individual Computation," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 18(1), pages 9-24, August.
  4. Chris Wilson, 1999. "Evolutionary Theory and Historical Fertility Change," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(3), pages 531-541.
  5. Cristiano Castelfranchi & Rosaria Conte & Mario Paolucci, 1998. "Normative Reputation and the Costs of Compliance," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 1(3), pages 3.
  6. Nicole J. Saam & Andreas G. Harrer, 1999. "Simulating Norms, Social Inequality, and Functional Change in Artificial Societies," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 2(1), pages 2.
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Cited by:
  1. Thomas K. Burch, 2003. "Demography in a new key," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 9(11), pages 263-284, December.
  2. Francesco Billari & Belinda Aparicio Diaz & Thomas Fent & Alexia Prskawetz, 2007. "The "Wedding-Ring"," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(3), pages 59-82, August.

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