Accidental Atheists? Agent-Based Explanations for the Persistence of Religious Regionalism
Laurence R. Iannaccone
George Mason University - Department of Economics
Michael D. Makowsky
Johns Hopkins University - Department of Emergency Medicine, Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences; Hopkins Population Center
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Forthcoming
This paper outlines a new approach to the study of religious commitment. Starting with a variant on Schelling's classic model of mobility and segregation, we develop a multi-agent religion simulation (MARS) that incorporates insights from theories of religious choice, social influence, and preference formation. Compared to standard statistical methods, MARS does a better job linking individual choices and collective outcomes. In particular, it demonstrates that stable regional patterns require a balanced combination of attachment to personal identity and adaptation to the social environment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: religious regionalism, micro-macro, rational choice, emergent phenomena, social simulation, multi-agent models, agent-based models, NetLogo
JEL Classification: Z12, C6
Date posted: February 21, 2007
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