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Dynamic Models of Segregation in Small-World Networks

  • Giorgio Fagiolo
  • Marco Valente
  • Nicolaas J. Vriend

Schelling (1969, 1971a,b, 1978) considered a simple proximity model of segregation where individual agents only care about the types of people living in their own local geographical neighborhood, the spatial structure being represented by one- or two-dimensional lattices. In this paper, we argue that segregation might occur not only in the geographical space, but also in social environments. Furthermore, recent empirical studies have documented that social interaction structures are well-described by small-world networks. We gen- eralize Schelling's model by allowing agents to interact in small-world networks instead of regular lattices. We study two alternative dynamic models where agents can decide to move either arbitrarily far away (global model) or are bound to choose an alternative location in their social neighborhood (local model). Our main result is that the system attains levels of segregation that are in line with those reached in the lattice-based spatial proximity model. Thus, Schelling's original results seem to be robust to the structural properties of the network.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2007/09.

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Date of creation: 05 Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2007/09
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  1. Giorgio Fagiolo & Marco Valente & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2005. "Segregation in Networks," Working Papers 549, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Dorogovtsev, S.N. & Mendes, J.F.F., 2003. "Evolution of Networks: From Biological Nets to the Internet and WWW," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198515906.
  3. Federico Echenique & Roland G. Fryer Jr., 2005. "On the Measurement of Segregation," Labor and Demography 0503006, EconWPA.
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