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Schelling's Spatial Proximity Model of Segregation Revisited

  • Romans Pancs

    (London School of Economics)

  • Nicolaas J. Vriend


    (Queen Mary, University of London)

Schelling [1969, 1971a, 1971b, 1978] presented a microeconomic model showing how an integrated city could unravel to a rather segregated city, notwithstanding relatively mild assumptions concerning the individual agents' preferences, i.e., no agent preferring the resulting segregation. We examine the robustness of Schelling's model, focusing in particular on its driving force: the individual preferences. We show that even if all individual agents have a strict preference for perfect integration, best-response dynamics will lead to segregation. What is more, we argue that the one-dimensional and two-dimensional versions of Schelling's spatial proximity model are in fact two qualitatively very different models of segregation.

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Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Modeling, Computing, and Mastering Complexity 2003 with number 15.

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Handle: RePEc:sce:cplx03:15
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  1. Larry E. Blume, 1996. "Population Games," Working Papers 96-04-022, Santa Fe Institute.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2001. "Non-Market Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1914, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  4. J. Barkley Rosser, 1999. "On the Complexities of Complex Economic Dynamics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 169-192, Fall.
  5. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  6. Brock, William A & Durlauf, Steven N, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 235-60, April.
  7. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
  8. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, J├Ârgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
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