Diversity and Inter-Ethnic Marriage – An Agent-Based Approach
Using a descriptive agent-based modelling approach, we seek to investigate the processes of partner selection in diverse communities, focussing on individual preferences, opportunities for contact, and group norms to uncover how these may lead to differential rates of inter-ethnic marriage. Agent-based approaches provide an ability to study ‘global’ phenomena simultaneously with their causal ‘local’ processes (and vice-versa) in a dynamic setting. They allow us to investigate the development of population-level phenomena from a simulated ‘local’ social space of norms and values populated by acculturated agents familiar to sociologists, potentially providing insights into community cohesion and inter-ethnic marriage which would not be available from other sources. Whilst agent-based models of inter-ethnic marriage have been developed previously, they have overestimated rates of inter-ethnic marriage and largely ignored the group-level processes necessary for a global understanding of inter-ethnic marriage. Utilising research and evidence from quantitative and qualitative sources from across the social sciences, we thus seek to develop a complex model of emergent processes of differentiation and change in the marriage patterns and social cohesion of migrant communities.