On the Cultural Evolution of Age-at-Marriage Norms

  • Francesco C. Billari
  • Alexia Prskawetz
  • Johannes Fürnkranz
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


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.


Social Norm Social Influence Cultural Evolution Transmission Mechanism Intergenerational Transmission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco C. Billari
    • 1
  • Alexia Prskawetz
    • 2
  • Johannes Fürnkranz
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Quantitative MethodsBocconi UniversityMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Demographic ResearchRostockGermany
  3. 3.Austrian Research Institute for Artificial IntelligenceViennaAustria

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