This paper generalizes the original Schelling (1969, 1971a,b, 2006) model of racial and residential segregation to a context of variable externalities due to social linkages. In a setting in which individuals’ utility function is a convex combination of a heuristic function à la Schelling, of the distance to friends, and of the cost of moving, the prediction of the original model gets attenuated: the segregation equilibria are not the unique solutions. While the cost of distance has a monotonic pro-status-quo effect, equivalent to that of models of migration and gravity models, if friends and neighbours are formed following independent processes the location of friends in space generates an externality that reinforces the initial configuration if the distance to friends is minimal, and if the degree of each agent is high. The effect on segregation equilibria crucially depends on the role played by network externalities.
Download article (PDF)