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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1677170
 
 

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Fast Acceptance by Common Experience: FACE-Recognition in Schelling’s Model of Neighborhood Segregation


Nathan Berg


University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Ulrich Hoffrage


University of Lausanne

Katarzyna Abramczuk


Polish Academy of Sciences; University of Warsaw

January 1, 2010

Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 5, No. 5, pp. 391-410, 2010

Abstract:     
Schelling (1969, 1971a, b, 1978) observed that macro-level patterns do not necessarily reflect micro-level intentions, desires or goals. In his classic model on neighborhood segregation which initiated a large and influential literature, individuals with no desire to be segregated from those who belong to other social groups nevertheless wind up clustering with their own type. Most extensions of Schelling's model have replicated this result. There is an important mismatch, however, between theory and observation, which has received relatively little attention. Whereas Schelling-inspired models typically predict large degrees of segregation starting from virtually any initial condition, the empirical literature documents considerable heterogeneity in measured levels of segregation. This paper introduces a mechanism that can produce significantly higher levels of integration and, therefore, brings predicted distributions of segregation more in line with real-world observation. As in the classic Schelling model, agents in a simulated world want to stay or move to a new location depending on the proportion of neighbors they judge to be acceptable. In contrast to the classic model, agents' classifications of their neighbors as acceptable or not depend lexicographically on recognition first and group type (e.g., ethnic stereotyping) second. The FACE-recognition model nests classic Schelling: When agents have no recognition memory, judgments about the acceptability of a prospective neighbor rely solely on his or her group type (as in the Schelling model). A very small amount of recognition memory, however, eventually leads to different classifications that, in turn, produce dramatic macro-level effects resulting in significantly higher levels of integration. A novel implication of the FACE-recognition model concerns the large potential impact of policy interventions that generate modest numbers of face-to-face encounters with members of other social groups.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: ethnic, discrimination, lexicographic, non-compensatory, heuristic, urban economics, institutional design

JEL Classification: D03, J7, M50

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Date posted: September 18, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Berg, Nathan and Hoffrage, Ulrich and Abramczuk, Katarzyna, Fast Acceptance by Common Experience: FACE-Recognition in Schelling’s Model of Neighborhood Segregation (January 1, 2010). Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 5, No. 5, pp. 391-410, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1677170

Contact Information

Nathan Berg (Contact Author)
University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )
P.O. Box 830688, GR 31
Richardson, TX 75083
United States
Ulrich Hoffrage
University of Lausanne ( email )
Lausanne, 1015
Switzerland
Katarzyna Abramczuk
Polish Academy of Sciences ( email )
Polna 18/20
00-625
Warsaw, 00-391
Poland
University of Warsaw ( email )
Karowa 18
00-927
Warsaw
Poland
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