Publications by Year: 2010

Between Replication and Docking: ``Adaptive Agents, Political Institutions, and Civic Traditions'' Revisited
Miodownik, Dan, Britt Cartrite, and Ravi Bhavnani. 2010. “Between Replication and Docking: ``Adaptive Agents, Political Institutions, and Civic Traditions'' Revisited.” JASSS-The Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 13. Full TextAbstract


This article has two primary objectives: (i) to replicate an agent-based model of social interaction by Bhavnani (2003), in which the author explicitly specifies mechanisms underpinning Robert Putnam's (1993) work on Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, bridging the gap between the study's historical starting point-political regimes that characterized 14th Century Italy-and contemporary levels of social capitaloreflected in a `civic' North and an `un-civic' South; and (ii) to extend the original analysis, using a landscape of Italy that accounts for population density. The replication exercise is performed by different authors using an entirely distinct ABM toolkit (PS-I) with its own rule set governing agent-interaction and cultural change. The extension, which more closely approximates a docking exercise, utilizes equal area cartograms otherwise known as density-equalizing maps (Gastner and Newman 2004) to resize the territory according to 1993 population estimates. Our results indicate that: (i) using the criterion of distributional equivalence, we experience mixed success in replicating the original model given our inability to restrict the selection of partners to `eligible' neighbors and limit the number of agent interactions in a timestep; (ii) increasing the number of agents and introducing more realistic population distributions in our extension of the replication model increases distributional equivalence; (iii) using the weaker criteria of relational alignment, both the replication model and its extension capture the basic relationship between institutional effectiveness and civic change, the effect of open boundaries, historical shocks, and path dependence; and (iv) that replication and docking may be usefully combined in model-to-model analysis, with an eye towards verification, reimplementation, and alignment.

Does Political Decentralization Exacerbate or Ameliorate Ethnopolitical Mobilization? A Test of Contesting Propositions
Miodownik, Dan, and Britt Cartrite. 2010. “Does Political Decentralization Exacerbate or Ameliorate Ethnopolitical Mobilization? A Test of Contesting Propositions.” Political Research Quarterly 63: 731-746. Full TextAbstract


This article presents the results of an experiment that attempted the reconciliation of opposite expectations regarding the effectiveness of political decentralization on ethno-political mobilization. An agent-based model was run thousands of times to explore the effect of decentralization. The experiments suggest that the impact is nonlinear: weak and medium levels of decentralization increase the likelihood of ethno-political mobilization, while strong decentralization decreases it. The explanation derives from how minority control of political institutions affects the dynamic of minority identity ascription and the realization of the goal or the frustration of ethnic members seeking more complete political dominance of the regional ideational space.

Groups and violence
Bhavnani, Ravi, Dan Miodownik, and Rick Riolo. 2010. “Groups and violence.” Estimating Impact: A Handbook of Computational Methods and Models for Anticipating Economic, Social, Political and Security Effects in International Interventions, 205-237, 205-237. Full TextAbstract


Violence can take place along a multitude of cleavages, e.g., (1) between political groups like the Kach Movement, pitting West Bank settlers against Israeli governments supporting the land-for-peace agenda; (2) between religious groups, such as Christians and Muslims in the Nigerian cities of Jos and Kaduna; (3) along class lines, as in India between Dalits and members of the Brahminical upper castes, upwardly mobile intermediate castes, and even other backward castes such as the Thevars; and (4) between ethnic groups such as the Hutu and Tutsi, both within and across state boundaries in Rwanda and neighboring Burundi. © 2010 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.