Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Shyam Gouri-Suresh
In 1996, Roland Benabou published a paper evaluating the impact of spillover effects on human capital accumulation. Within Benabou’s theoretical framework, human capital accumulation is a function of three things: parent’s human capital, school quality, and spillover effects. Of particular interest to Benabou was the effect of segregation (economic, racial…) on human capital accumulation, as well as mechanisms through which the convergence of outcomes could be achieved. I attempt to use computational tools to simulate Benabou’s theoretical work.
Utilizing Matlab, I developed a series of agent-based models, to evaluate how human capital accumulation proceeds in unique circumstances. I develop simulations with unique utility functions, tax conditions, and school funding mechanisms. The results suggest that when segregation persists, there gap between communities widens, resulting in the perpetuation of inequality. Attempts to encourage integration or achieve equity of outcomes yield surprising results.