On the cultural evolution of age-at-marriage norms
In: Billari, F. C., Prskawetz, A. (Eds.): Agent-Based Computational Demography: using simulation to improve our understanding of demographic behaviour, 139–157
Heidelberg [et al.], Physica-Verlag (2003)
We present an agent-based model designed to study the cultural
evolution of age-at-marriage norms. We review both theoretical
arguments and empirical evidence regarding the existence of norms
which proscribe marriage outside of an acceptable age interval.
Using a definition of norms as built-in constraints in agents, we
model the transmission of norms and the mechanisms of the
intergenerational transmission of norms. Agents can marry each
other only if they share part of the acceptable age interval. We
perform several simulation experiments on the evolution across
generations. In particular, we study the conditions under which
norms persist in the long run, the impact of initial conditions,
the role of random mutations, and the impact of social influence.
Although our agent-based model is highly stylized, it reveals
important insights about the dynamics of life course norms.