We address theoretically whether and under what conditions Schelling's celebrated result of 'self-organized' unintended residential segregation may also apply to school segregation. We propose here a computational model of school segregation that is aligned with a corresponding Schelling-type model of residential segregation. To adapt the model for application to school segregation, we move beyond previous work by combining two preference arguments in modeling parents' school choice, preferences for the ethnic composition of a school and preferences for minimizing the travelling distance to the school. In a set of computational experiments we assessed the effects of population composition and distance preferences in the school model. We found that a preference for nearby schools can suppress the trend towards self-organized segregation obtained in a baseline condition where parents were indifferent towards distance. We then investigated the joint effects of the variation of agents' 'tolerance' for out-group members and distance preference. We found that integrated distributions were preserved under a much broader range of conditions than in the absence of a preference for nearby schools. We conclude that parents' preferences for nearby schools may be an important factor in tempering for school choice the segregation dynamics known from models of residential segregation.
From Schelling to Schools: A Comparison of a Model of Residential Segregation with a Model of School Segregation
Victor Ionut Stoica and Andreas Flache
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 17 (1) 5