An agent-based model of mortality shocks, intergenerational effects, and urban crime

Michael Makowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Rational criminals choose crime over lawfulness because it pays better; hence poverty correlates to criminal behavior. This correlation is an insufficient historical explanation. An agent-based model of urban crime, mortality, and exogenous population shocks supplements the standard economic story, closing the gap with an empirical reality that often breaks from trend. Agent decision making within the model is built around a career maximization function, with life expectancy as the key independent variable. Rational choice takes the form of a local information heuristic, resulting in subjectively rational suboptimal decision making. The effects of population shocks are explored using the Crime and Mortality Simulation (CAMSIM), with effects demonstrated to persist across generations. Past social trauma are found to lead to higher crime rates which subsequently decline as the effect degrades, though 'aftershocks' are often experienced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 31 2006


  • Agent-Based Model
  • Bounded Rationality
  • Crime
  • Life Expectancy
  • Rational Choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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