Bringing Behavior Back into Micro-Simulation: Feedback Mechanisms in Demographic Models

  • Mike Murphy
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


Standard demographic models such as the cohort component method do not include explicit feedback mechanisms, although it is clear that long-term population growth rates have been fine-tuned to be very close to zero in almost all epochs. I compare models that do and do not include feedback mechanisms using the SOCSIM Monte Carlo simulation program, with approximately fixed stationary values of fertility, mortality and nuptiality, but with only nuptiality depending on the population size, in an approximation to the household formation models of Hajnal, and Wrigley and Schofield. Standard Monte Carlo micro-simulation models show greater variability than is observed in the dynamics of human populations. Negative feedback mechanisms lead to more realistic patterns of growth within an agent-based framework. Nuptiality adjustment is sufficient to maintain population homeostasis in most cases. Parity-specific adjustment does not lead to major differences from the unconstrained model, and a stem family system that promotes the nuptiality of one son appears to provide little advantage in perpetuating lineages compared with an unconstrained system.


Feedback Mechanism Initial Population Size Inheritance System Unconstrained System Chance Factor 
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

  • Mike Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social PolicyLondon School of EconomicsLondonUK

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