Aggregate Age-at-Marriage Patterns from Individual Mate-Search Heuristics

Peter M. Todd, Francesco C. Billari and Jorge Simão

in Heuristics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199744282
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894727 | DOI:
Aggregate Age-at-Marriage Patterns from Individual Mate-Search Heuristics

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The distribution of age at first marriage shows well-known strong regularities across many countries and recent historical periods. This chapter accounted for these patterns by developing agent-based models that simulate the aggregate behavior of individuals who are searching for marriage partners. Past models assumed fully rational agents with complete knowledge of the marriage market; our simulated agents used psychologically plausible simple heuristic mate search rules that adjust aspiration levels on the basis of a sequence of encounters with potential partners. Substantial individual variation must be included in the models to account for the demographically observed age-at-marriage patterns.

Keywords: mating; heuristics; sequential search; marriage; simulations

Chapter.  7000 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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