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Back to the Future: A Simple Solution to Schelling Segregation


  • Sylvain Barde



The maximum entropy methodology is applied to the Schelling model of urban segregation in order to obtain a reliable prediction of the stable configuration of the system without resorting to numerical simulations. We show that this approach also provides an implicit equation describing the distribution of agents over a city which allows for directly assessing the effect of model parameters on the solution. Finally, we discuss the information theoretic motivation for applying this methodology to the Schelling model, and show that it effectively rests on the presence of a potential function, suggesting a broader applicability of the methodology.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvain Barde, 2011. "Back to the Future: A Simple Solution to Schelling Segregation," ERSA conference papers ersa11p862, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p862

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/5l6uh8ogmqildh09h56484hg0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Foley Duncan K., 1994. "A Statistical Equilibrium Theory of Markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 321-345, April.
    3. Sylvain Barde, 2011. "Ignorance is bliss: rationality, information and equilibrium," Sciences Po publications 2011-04, Sciences Po.
    4. Sebastian Grauwin & Florence Goffette-Nagot & Pablo Jensen, 2009. "Dynamic models of residential segregation: Brief review, analytical resolution and study of the introduction of coordination," Working Papers 0914, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    5. Alexis Toda, 2010. "Existence of a statistical equilibrium for an economy with endogenous offer sets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 45(3), pages 379-415, December.
    6. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-493, May.
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    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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