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Exploring the dynamics of neighborhood ethnic segregation with agent-based modelling: an empirical application to Bradford
Carolina V. Zuccotti, Jan Lorenz, Rocco Paolillo, Alejandra Rodríguez Sánchez y Selamavit Serka.
Working Paper.
How individuals’ residential moves in space—derived from their varied preferences and constraints—translate into the overall segregation patterns that we observe, remains a key challenge in neighborhood ethnic segregation research. In this paper we use agent-based modeling to explore this concern, focusing on the interactive role of ethnic and socio-economic homophily preferences and housing constraints as determinants of residential choice. Specifically, we extend the notorious Schelling’s model to a random utility discrete choice approach to simulate the relocation decision of people (micro level) and how they translate into spatial segregation outcomes (macro level). We model different weights for preferences of ethnic and socioeconomic similarity in neighborhood composition over random relocations, in addition to housing constraints. We formalize how different combinations of these variables could replicate real segregation scenarios in Bradford, a substantially segregated local authority in the UK. We initialize our model with geo-referenced data from the 2011 Census and use Dissimilarity and the Average Local Simpson Indices as measures of segregation. As in the original Schelling model, the simulation shows that even mild preferences to reside close to co-ethnics can lead to high segregation levels. Nevertheless, ethnic over-segregation decreases, and results come close to real data, when preferences for socioeconomic similarity are slightly above preferences for ethnic similarity, and even more so when housing constraints are considered in relocation moves of agents. We discuss the theoretical and policy contributions of our work.
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