Individual Decisions and Group Outcomes


in Schelling's Game Theory

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199857203
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932597 | DOI:
Individual Decisions and Group Outcomes

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This chapter begins with a Schelling problem that introduces the themes, “micromotives,” individual's intentions, and “macrobehavior,” which is the aggregate outcome of individual decisions. After some discussion on the problem of Schelling's view on “purposive” and “contingent” behavior, the chapter considers discrete and continuous variables. The discrete variable section is about “segregation and integration” and begins by distinguishing segregation from congregation. A Schelling experiment concerning how segregation takes place is described, involving a checkerboard with markers representing relatively tolerant people on the board. The inevitable result of following the instructions is that segregated pockets develop all over the board. This is true although all have a preference for integrated neighborhoods, so long as they are in a majority. The chapter challenges this assuming an understanding of attitudes based on existing patterns of housing and segregation. The final section is concerned with continuous variables, in other words, mixing and sorting within one variable. It also explains two Schelling problems. The second problem raises an interesting question about allowing free choice, because with free choice all will end in an unsatisfactory position, but turning the assignment over to authority yields a result much closer to actual desires.

Keywords: micromotives; macrobehavior; checkerboard model; residential segregation; contingent behavior

Chapter.  6153 words. 

Subjects: Economics

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