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Schelling's Spatial Proximity Model of Segregation Revisited

  • Romans Pancs
  • Nicolaas J. Vriend

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 Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 with number 63.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2003
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf3:63
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  1. Lawrence Blume, 1996. "Population Games," Game Theory and Information 9607001, EconWPA.
  2. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  3. 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.
  4. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
  5. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Discrete choice with social interactions," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2001. "Non-Market Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1914, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
  8. 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.
  9. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
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