Diffusion Processes in Demographic Transitions: A Prospect on Using Multi Agent Simulation to Explore the Role of Cognitive Strategies and Social Interactions

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Multi agent simulation (MAS) is a tool that can be used to explore the dynamics of different systems. Considering that many demographic phenomena have roots in individual choice behaviour and social interactions it is important that this behaviour is being translated in agent rules. Several behaviour theories are relevant in this context, and hence there is a necessity of using a meta-theory of behaviour as a framework for the development of agent rules. The consumat approach provides a basis for such a framework, as is demonstrated with a discussion of modelling the diffusion of contraceptives. These diffusion processes are strongly influenced by social processes and cognitive strategies. Different possible research lines are discussed which might be addressed with a multi-agent approach like the consumats.

We thank Prof. Frans Willekens for his comments on an earlier version of this chapter. The second author acknowledges support from the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change at Indiana University through National Science Foundation grants SBR9521918 and SES0083511. More information on the consumat approach can be found at: http://go.to/consumats