Balkanization in a Probabilistic Model

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Even With Randomness, Increasing Access Can Lead to More Balkanization

We now fix agent preference at 0.75. Recall that this means that partners of the same type are three times more likely to be selected than partners of a different type. This corresponds to the situation where agents prefer others of the same type, but also seek some diversity in their interactions. We wish to observe what happens as access increases. Again, we fix the channel count at three and perform 200 runs for each data point. Our results appear in the graph below.

As you can clearly see, despite the randomness in agent preference, Balkanization still increases with increasing access after the initial drop, though the final value is not as high at it was in the original model. Indeed, this same basic result will hold so long as agents prefer more similarity in their connections than they have under purely local access. Increasing access allows agents to fulfill their preferences to a greater and greater extent. Thus if agents naturally desire more homogeneity than is locally available, Balkanization will increase with access. On the next slide, we show that the reverse is also possible: If agents prefer more heterogeneity than is locally available, increasing access can decrease Balkanization.

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