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Accidental Atheists? Agent-Based Explanations for the Persistence of Religious Regionalism

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Forthcoming

39 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2007  

Laurence R. Iannaccone

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Michael D. Makowsky

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics

Abstract

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.

Keywords: religious regionalism, micro-macro, rational choice, emergent phenomena, social simulation, multi-agent models, agent-based models, NetLogo

JEL Classification: Z12, C6

Suggested Citation

Iannaccone, Laurence R. and Makowsky, Michael D., Accidental Atheists? Agent-Based Explanations for the Persistence of Religious Regionalism. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=964369

Laurence R. Iannaccone (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Michael D. Makowsky

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

HOME PAGE: http://michaelmakowsky.com

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