The Impact of Geometry on Monochrome Regions in the Flip Schelling Process

Authors Thomas Bläsius, Tobias Friedrich , Martin S. Krejca , Louise Molitor

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Thomas Bläsius
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Tobias Friedrich
  • Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam, Germany
Martin S. Krejca
  • Sorbonne University, CNRS, LIP6, Paris, France
Louise Molitor
  • Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam, Germany


We want to thank Thomas Sauerwald for the discussions on random walks.

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Thomas Bläsius, Tobias Friedrich, Martin S. Krejca, and Louise Molitor. The Impact of Geometry on Monochrome Regions in the Flip Schelling Process. In 32nd International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 212, pp. 29:1-29:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


Schelling’s classical segregation model gives a coherent explanation for the wide-spread phenomenon of residential segregation. We introduce an agent-based saturated open-city variant, the Flip Schelling Process (FSP), in which agents, placed on a graph, have one out of two types and, based on the predominant type in their neighborhood, decide whether to change their types; similar to a new agent arriving as soon as another agent leaves the vertex. We investigate the probability that an edge {u,v} is monochrome, i.e., that both vertices u and v have the same type in the FSP, and we provide a general framework for analyzing the influence of the underlying graph topology on residential segregation. In particular, for two adjacent vertices, we show that a highly decisive common neighborhood, i.e., a common neighborhood where the absolute value of the difference between the number of vertices with different types is high, supports segregation and, moreover, that large common neighborhoods are more decisive. As an application, we study the expected behavior of the FSP on two common random graph models with and without geometry: (1) For random geometric graphs, we show that the existence of an edge {u,v} makes a highly decisive common neighborhood for u and v more likely. Based on this, we prove the existence of a constant c > 0 such that the expected fraction of monochrome edges after the FSP is at least 1/2 + c. (2) For Erdős-Rényi graphs we show that large common neighborhoods are unlikely and that the expected fraction of monochrome edges after the FSP is at most 1/2 + o(1). Our results indicate that the cluster structure of the underlying graph has a significant impact on the obtained segregation strength.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Network formation
  • Theory of computation → Random network models
  • Agent-based Model
  • Schelling Segregation
  • Spin System


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