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Cultural Differences and Economic Incentives: an Agent-Based Study of Their Impact on the Emergence of Regional Autonomy Movements

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Abstract

Explanations of the emergence of regional autonomy movements - political organizations seeking to express sub-state affinities and interests - often highlight cultural differences and economic incentives as important reasons driving regional elites and local politicians to form such organization and explain the support regional autonomy movements receive. In this paper I employ a specialized agent-based computer simulation as a laboratory for 'thought experiments' to evaluate alternative theoretical expectations of the independent and combined consequences of regional economic and cultural circumstances on the likelihood of regional mobilization. The simulations suggest that pronounced cultural differences and strong economic incentives contribute to the emergence of three independent yet related aspects of autonomy mobilization: the emergence of political boundaries, minority support, and minority clustering. Furthermore, these experiment indicate that the impact of cultural differences on the emergence of political boundaries may be contingent on the strength of the economic incentives, and visa versa.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Miodownik, 2006. "Cultural Differences and Economic Incentives: an Agent-Based Study of Their Impact on the Emergence of Regional Autonomy Movements," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 9(4), pages 1-2.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2005-80-3
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    File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/9/4/2/2.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ian Lustick, 2000. "Agent-Based Modelling of Collective Identity: Testing Constructivist Theory," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 3(1), pages 1-1.
    2. Ian Lustick, 2002. "PS-I: a User-Friendly Agent-Based Modeling Platform for Testing Theories of Political Identity and Political Stability," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 5(3), pages 1-7.
    3. Ravi Bhavanani & David Backer, 1999. "Localized Ethnic Conflict and Genocide: Accounting for Differences in Rwanda and Burundi," Working Papers 99-07-053, Santa Fe Institute.
    4. Brancati, Dawn, 2006. "Decentralization: Fueling the Fire or Dampening the Flames of Ethnic Conflict and Secessionism?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 651-685, July.
    5. Armano Srbljinovic & Drazen Penzar & Petra Rodik & Kruno Kardov, 2003. "An Agent-Based Model of Ethnic Mobilisation," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 6(1), pages 1-1.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:02:p:209-229_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. David Brichoux & Paul E. Johnson, 2002. "The Power of Commitment in Cooperative Social Action," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 5(3), pages 1-1.
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