An Agent-based Model of Crisis-Driven Migration

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CSSS 2006 Santa Fe

An Agent-based Model of Crisis-Driven Migration

The literature on ethnic migration suggests that natural disasters, armed conflict, economics and cultural networks are key drivers of migration. The dearth of georeferenced ethnic data, however, limits the value of econometric analysis. We build an agent-based model to simulate crisis-driven migration. Agents within a multi-ethnic population monitor their spatial environments to formulate perceptions of the risk of being persecuted. The expected utility of staying within a given neighborhood is inversely related to the perceived probability of persecution. Cultural networks temper an agent's security calculus, with strong social ties dampening the human security dilemma. Agents express preferences regarding the different ethnic groups in their spatial environment and social network. Social networks expand over time, but are often negatively impacted by exogenous social shocks. The resulting migratory patterns and ethnic clustering is a product of the confluence of event location and magnitude, ethnic tension, demographic factors and breadth of networks. Initial finding suggest that crisisdriven migration patterns are influenced by shock size and magnitude.

Participants: Michael Makowsky, Jorge Tavares, Tamas Makany, Patrick Meier

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