Accidental atheists? Agent-based explanations for the persistence of religious regionalism

Laurence R. Iannaccone, Michael D. Makowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article outlines a new approach to the study of religious commitment. Starting with a variant on Schelling's classic model of mobility and segregation, we develop a multi-agent religion simulation (MARS) that incorporates insights from theories of religious choice, social influence, and preference formation. Compared to standard statistical methods, MARS does a better job of linking individual choices and collective outcomes. In particular, it demonstrates that stable regional patterns require a balanced combination of attachment to personal identity and adaptation to the social environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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