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Social Interactions and Long-Term Fertility Dynamics. A Simulation Experiment in the Context of the French Fertility Decline

by Sandra González-Bailón and Tommy E. Murphy

We build an agent-based simulation model that incorporates both historical data on population characteristics and spatial information on the geography of France to experimentally study the role of social interactions in fertility decisions. We assess how different behavioural and interdependence assumptions cause variations in macro dynamics and diffusion patterns. The analyses show that incorporating social interactions into the model contribute to mimic empirically observed behaviour. Our findings suggest individual-level mechanisms through which the observed demographic transition was materialised.

Keywords fertility decline, demographic transition, diffusion, France, simulation experiments, agent-based models, decision-making, social norms, social interactions.

JEL classification N33, J13, C15.

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Last updated October 11, 2011