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Strategic behavior in Schelling dynamics: A new result and experimental evidence


  • Juan Miguel Benito

    () (Universidad Pública de Navarra)

  • Pablo Brañas-Garza

    () (Universidad de Granada)

  • Penélope Hernández

    () (ERI-CES)

  • Juan A. Sanchis

    () (ERI-CES)


In this paper we experimentally test Schelling's (1971) segregation model and confirm the striking result of segregation. In addition, we extend Schelling's model theo- retically by adding strategic behavior and moving costs. We obtain a unique subgame perfect equilibrium in which rational agents facing moving costs may find it optimal not to move (anticipating other participants' movements). This equilibrium is far for full segregation. We run experiments for this extended Schelling model. We find that the percentage of strategic players dramatically increases with the cost of moving and that the degree of segregation depends on the distribution of rational subjects.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Miguel Benito & Pablo Brañas-Garza & Penélope Hernández & Juan A. Sanchis, 2012. "Strategic behavior in Schelling dynamics: A new result and experimental evidence," Discussion Papers in Economic Behaviour 0312, University of Valencia, ERI-CES.
  • Handle: RePEc:dbe:wpaper:0312

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ariel Rubinstein, 2007. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1243-1259, October.
    2. Pancs, Romans & Vriend, Nicolaas J., 2007. "Schelling's spatial proximity model of segregation revisited," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 1-24, February.
    3. Zhang, Junfu, 2004. "Residential segregation in an all-integrationist world," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 533-550, August.
    4. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 177-218.
    5. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-493, May.
    6. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, January.
    7. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, January.
    8. Ariel Rubinstein, 2007. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: Response Times Study," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000001011, UCLA Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Coralio Ballester & Penélope Hernández, 2010. "Bounded Rationality," ThE Papers 10/10, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    2. Benito-Ostolaza, Juan M. & Sanchis-Llopis, Juan A., 2014. "Training strategic thinking: Experimental evidence," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(5), pages 785-789.
    3. Juan M. Benito-Ostolaza & Penélope Hernández & Juan A. Sanchis-Llopis, 2015. "Are individuals with higher cognitive ability expected to play more strategically?," Working Papers 1507, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    4. Benito-Ostolaza, Juan M. & Hernández, Penélope & Sanchis-Llopis, Juan A., 2016. "Do individuals with higher cognitive ability play more strategically?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 5-11.

    More about this item


    Subgame perfect equilibrium; segregation; experimental games;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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