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It's the rationality, stupid!

Presentation at the Third Conference on Analytical Sociology and Social Mechanisms. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. June 2010.
by

Mauricio Salgado

on 6 September 2010

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Transcript of It's the rationality, stupid!

Looting and disasters Figure 1: Expected benefit of looting and cooperate Figure 3: Police recovers its effectiveness (Hypothesis) Figure 4: Benefit with military intervention "...The sailor, defying death in the pursuit of plunder, rushed into the midst of the ruin, where he found some money, with which he got drunk, and, after he had slept himself sober he purchased the favors of the first good-natured wench that came in his way, amidst the ruins of demolished houses and the groans of half-buried and expiring persons." Disaster myths Looting and disasters 1989 - St. Croix Island

2005 - New Orleans

2010 - Central Chile The sack of Rome - Karl Briullov (1836) Dulle Griet - Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1564) "Candide, or The Optimist" - Voltaire (1759) Looting and property riots are movements of collective behaviour brought about by interaction systems at the individual level Individuals rationally decide whether to joint this collective movements or not (i.e., individuals have two alternative actions) The costs and benefits of each alternative depend on the choices of the other individuals A natural disaster exogeneously modifies the perceived costs and/or benefits of each alternative action 1. 2. 3. Chile Earthquake Figure 7.1: Late Social Policy (ticks=350) Figure 8.1. Late Joint Policy (ticks=350) Figure 6.1: Late Intervention (ticks=350) Figure 5.1: No disaster Figure 7.2: Early social policy (ticks=100) Figure 8.2. Early joint policy (ticks=100) Figure 6.2: Early intervention (ticks=100) Figure 5.2: Disaster (ticks=50) Figure 6: Police Intervention Figure 5: Two different scenarios... Figure 7: Social Policy (communication systems) Figure 8: Social Policy and Police Intervention Figure 2: Change in benefit after the disaster strikes The artificial society: Entities The artificial society: behaviours Cop's visibility Agent's visibility When a disaster strikes... "We understand your urgent suffering, but we also know that these are criminal acts that will not be tolerated"

Former President Michelle Bachelet Does it work...? Agregate dynamic of change How can we explain this escalation of looting behaviour after the occurrence of a natural disaster? Why we observe this pattern in some occasions and not in others? Concluding remarks Problems Global knowledge Lack of heterogeneity No spatial constraints In order to explain the ith individual's participation in the riot, the model must pre-suppose that a large number of equally rational individuals have already chosen to participate. Presumably, the expected utility calculus of the initial rioters is no different from that of the later looters. Yet as it stands the model is notably silent on the behavior of the former group. Chicken-or-egg dilemma Comparison p=0.5 p=0.05 p=0.95 p=0.5 p=0.05 The increasing number of looters can lead to yet more looters, because someone might riot for private benefit if there are sufficient participants to reduce the individual likelihood of apprehension or imprisonment. The existing police power can stop the escalation, but it can not reduce the number of looters. The models suggests that, in absence of any external policy, a disaster triggers a deviant behaviour escalation in the social system. One way of reducing the increasing number of looters is a mixed policy of reinforcing the existing police power and re-establishing the communications systems early after a disaster strikes. The government seemed slow to react. Long accustomed to natural disasters, Chile has plenty of emergency food rations, but aid started to reach the hardest-hit regions only three days after the quake. By then looting was widespread in Concepción, a city of 600,000 people. A local official talked of a “social earthquake”.
04-03-10 The regions of Bío-Bío and Maule “catastrophe zones” and 10,000 troops were sent to keep order. As the President herself told TIME, no one in command really knew how bad the situation was outside of Santiago because of the breakdown in communications and what turned out to be inaccurate information.
04-03-10 Is there any relationship between disasters and looting? Notions that disasters are accompanied by looting, social disorganization, and deviant behavior Collective action tends to be adaptive after a disaster:

Most of the affected residents perform themselves many critical tasks, such as searching for and rescuing victims, and both social cohesiveness and informal mechanisms of social control increase during disasters The marginal benefit of a bit of theft for even honest folk who had lost everything clearly increased. Centre for Research in Social Simulation It's the rationality, stupid!
The dynamic of looting in a context of natural disasters by Mauricio Salgado III Conference on Analytical Sociology and Social Mechanisms “For 20 years the center-left government coalition did nothing but debilitate the very concept of “public order”, the expression that, for its followers, sounds like brute oppression onto “the people”. (...) Thus, why to be surprised that massive groups of citizens believe nowadays they have the right to pillage if they get the opportunity to do so?”

Fernando Villegas “Does not the excessive free-market-ideology end up –some people like to say– undermining its own “geographical morality”, for it sets the price on the social norms? (…) Could not all of this be related to this new ethos reenacted in Chile since the seventies onwards?”

Pablo Salvat 4. Contents 1. General objectives 2. Disasters and looting 4. System dynamic model 5. Agent-based model 6. Concluding remarks 3. Assumptions Thank you! To study the strategies that policy makers can apply to prevent the escalation of deviant behaviour in the aftermath of a disaster. To understand the dynamic of urban property riots (McPhail, 1994) that result in looting, arson and vandalism in a context of transitory weakness of public institutions after a natural disaster. 1. 2. Objectives Experiments: Testing policies Constant moralisation of the problem... Model description Disasters reduce the amount and quality of the information individuals perceive from their environment Disasters increase the perceived benefits and decrease the perceived costs individuals expect to obtain from their participation in looting Premature closure, nonsystematic scanning, temporal narrowing - Acute Stress Disorder A disaster might cut off all the communication systems (e.g., electronic broadcasting, mass media, Internet, telephone) 1. 2. So, yep... it works!
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