Minority Integration in a Western City: An Agent-Based Modelling Approach
This chapter describes the design and construction of an agent-based model we refer to as the ‘Simulation of Extended Time Integration’ (SETI) model. This model was designed with the goal of obtaining a better understanding of the conditions and mechanisms leading to the structural, social, and cultural integration of minorities into large Western societies. SETI is a virtual society with structural (employment, income, education) and demographic (marriage, reproduction, life expectancy) variables typical of Westerns countries. Initialization occurs after a hypothesized immigration event in which a single minority population settles into the majority population, bracketing the first decade after the event. The model then runs for three generations during which agents hold weekly social interactions and ‘experience’ processes related to education and employment. These interactions and processes affect agents’ variables representing their degrees of structural, social, and cultural integration. Through this simulation exercise, we hope to gain better insights into the role that particular starting conditions and general mechanisms play in integration; to test potential policies that may aid integration of minority populations; and to show how computer simulations may complement other forms of empirical research in contributing a better understanding of the dynamics of human societies.