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Aggregate Age-at-Marriage Patterns from Individual Mate-Search Heuristics

Peter M. Todd, Francesco C. Billari and Jorge Simão
Demography
Vol. 42, No. 3 (Aug., 2005), pp. 559-574
Published by: Springer on behalf of the Population Association of America
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4147362
Page Count: 16
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Aggregate Age-at-Marriage Patterns from Individual Mate-Search Heuristics
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Abstract

The distribution of age at first marriage shows well-known strong regularities across many countries and recent historical periods. We accounted for these patterns by developing agent-based models that simulate the aggregate behavior of individuals who are searching for marriage partners. Past models assumed fully rational agents with complete knowledge of the marriage market; our simulated agents used psychologically plausible simple heuristic mate search rules that adjust aspiration levels on the basis of a sequence of encounters with potential partners. Substantial individual variation must be included in the models to account for the demographically observed age-at-marriage patterns.

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