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A Mate-Matching Algorithm for Continuous-Time Microsimulation Models


  • Sabine Zinn

    () (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Laboratory of Statistical Demography, Rostock, Germany)


The timing of partnership formation in closed continuous-time microsimulation models poses difficulties due to the continuous time scale. In this paper the problem is resolved by the concept of a partnership market, which individuals can enter and leave at any point in time over the complete simulation time range. Each individual, who looks for a spouse, remains in the market for a specific period during which searching and matching is performed. To build up synthetic couples, the model imitates a decision making-process. The decision to enter a partnership depends on empirically estimated logit models for the probability that a given woman and a given man will get together, and also on an individual aspiration level regarding a potential partner. A couple is formed if a positive decision has been made and the timing of the partnership formation is consistent with the individual searching periods of the prospective spouses. The algorithm is illustrated by an example in which simulations are run to project a synthetic population, similar to the population of the Netherlands, by using an extended version of the microsimulation tool of the MicMac project.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabine Zinn, 2012. "A Mate-Matching Algorithm for Continuous-Time Microsimulation Models," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 5(1), pages 31-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:ijm:journl:v:5:y:2012:i:1:p:31-51

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter Todd & Francesco Billari & Jorge Simão, 2005. "Aggregate age-at-marriage patterns from individual mate-search heuristics," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(3), pages 559-574, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gál, Róbert Iván & Törzsök, Árpád, 2015. "Háztartás-formálódás a MIDAS modellben
      [Household formation in the MIDAS-HU model]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1343-1358.
    2. Anna Klabunde & Frans J. Willekens & Sabine Zinn & Matthias Leuchter, 2015. "An agent-based decision model of migration, embedded in the life course - Model description in ODD+D format," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2015-002, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

    More about this item


    mate-matching algorithm; closed mating model; continuous-time microsimulation; compatibility index;

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection


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