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Adaptive Agents, Political Institutions and Civic Traditions in Modern Italy

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Abstract

Long duration historical studies have been formative in shaping comparative analysis. Yet historical processes are notoriously difficult to study, and their findings equally difficult to validate empirically. In this paper, I take Robert Putnam’s work on Civic Traditions in Modern Italy and attempt to bridge the gap between the study’s historical starting point and contemporary observations, using an agent-based model of social interaction. My use of a computational model to study historical processes—in this case the inculcation and spread of social capital—supports Putnam's claim of path dependence. Moving beyond Putnam’s study, my results indicate that the formation of civic (or uncivic) communities is not deterministic, that their emergence is sensitive to historical shocks, and that the absence of political boundaries lowers aggregate levels of civicness in regions characterized by effective institutions. In addition, the simulation suggests that minor improvement to ineffective institutions—making them moderately effective—constitute a mid-level equilibrium trap with the least desirable social consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravi Bhavnani, 2003. "Adaptive Agents, Political Institutions and Civic Traditions in Modern Italy," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 6(4), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2003-7-2
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    File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/6/4/1.html
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    Cited by:

    1. Kazuya Yamamoto, 2015. "Mobilization, Flexibility of Identity, and Ethnic Cleavage," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 18(2), pages 1-8.

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    Keywords

    Social Capital; Italy; Agent-Based Model;

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