Models, conjectures and exploration

July 4, 2008

Models, conjectures and exploration: an analysis of Schelling’s checkerboard model of residential segregation, Journal of Economic Methodology, Volume 14 Issue 4, pp. 429 – 454.

Abstract: This paper analyses and explicates the explanatory characteristics of Schelling’s checkerboard model of segregation. It argues that the explanation of emergence of segregation which is based on the checkerboard model is a partial potential (theoretical) explanation. Yet it is also argued that despite its partiality, the checkerboard model is valuable because it improves our chances to provide better explanations of particular exemplifications of residential segregation. The paper establishes this argument by way of examining the several ways in which the checkerboard model has been explored in the literature. The examination of the checkerboard model also supports the view that the relation between the real world and models is complex, and models should be considered as mediators, or as instruments of investigation.


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