Simulating Acculturation Dynamics Between Migrants and Locals in Relation to Network Formation

Rocco Paolillo*, Wander Jager

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
80 Downloads (Pure)


International migration implies the coexistence of different ethnic and cultural groups in the receiving country. The refugee crisis of 2015 has resulted in critical levels of opinion polarization on the question of whether to welcome migrants causing clashes in receiving countries. This scenario emphasizes the need to better understand the dynamics of mutual adaptation between locals and migrants and the conditions that favor successful integration. Agent-based simulations can help achieve this goal. In this work, we introduce our model MigrAgent and our preliminary results. The model synthesizes the dynamics of migration intake and postmigration adaptation. It explores the different acculturation outcomes that can emerge from the mutual adaptation of a migrant population and a local population depending on their degree of tolerance. With parameter sweeping, we detect how different acculturation strategies can coexist in a society and in different degrees among various subgroups. The results show higher polarization effects between a local population and a migrant population for fast intake conditions. When migrant intake is slow, transitory conditions between acculturation outcomes emerge for subgroups, for example, from assimilation to integration for liberal migrants and from marginalization to separation for conservative migrants. Relative group sizes due to speed of intake cause counterintuitive scenarios such as the separation of liberal locals. We qualitatively compare the processes of our model with the German portion sample of the survey "Causes and Consequences of Socio-Cultural Integration Processes Among New Immigrants in Europe," finding preliminary confirmation of our assumptions and results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-386
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2020


  • acculturation
  • migration
  • tolerance
  • polarization
  • agent-based simulation

Cite this