Computational modelling of primary school segregation

A research collaboration between the University of Amsterdam and its Institute for Advanced Study, The University of Groningen, The City of Amsterdam and the Dutch School Inspectorate

The issue of segregation in education can be (and has been) examined from both the individual level (e.g., parent surveys, choice analysis, etc.) or from macro-level statistics (e.g., changes in segregation level, region, city or national level). The uniqueness of a complexity science approach is the ability to connect these two levels and perhaps demonstrate that seemingly innocuous changes in individual behaviour or societal context can lead to drastic change in macro level dynamics. To be specific, by a complex systems approach we intend a combination of theoretical agent-based modelling of school choice dynamics, coupled with empirical spatial data and school choice data, both to calibrate and to test model outcomes.

School Choice

This research collaboration focuses on uncovering all factors in school segregation and their dynamics, with a specific focus on (parental) school choice.

Complexity Science

Development of an agent-based model of school choice and school allocation will enable us to study how potential disruptions (policy interventions, demographic scenarios) affect choice and resulting patterns of school segregation.


The research team is comprised of members from different fields. By studying school choice and school segregation dynamics using an interdisciplinary approach, the team tries to find solutions that surpass the boundaries of the individual fields.