Interacting factors in school choice – Modelling consequences for school segregation with an agent-based model

School segregation, the (uneven) distribution of children with particular characteristics (e.g. ethnicity, income, education) between schools, is a persistent problem in many educational systems. At the same time, schools are also important for decreasing inequalities and promoting integration. While researchers have identified various factors influencing school segregation, they have mostly looked at households as isolated entities (choice analysis, interviews) or at macro-level statistics (trends, levels). Interactions between and within individuals and schools are often not accounted for, but it is precisely these interactions that make school choice a complex system. To achieve a better understanding of the problem, the complexity of interactions needs to be properly modelled.

What are we trying to achieve and how?  

This project aims to model interactions explicitly in an Agent-Based Model (ABM), incorporating empirical data on multiple levels (e.g. households, schools, institutions), to study the consequences of interdependent, yet uncoordinated individual choices for the emergence of school segregation.

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