Agliari, Elena and Barra, Adriano and Galluzzi, Andrea and Javarone, Marco Alberto and Pizzoferrato, Andrea and Tantari, Daniele (2015) Emerging heterogeneities in Italian customs and comparison with nearby countries. PLoS One, Vol. 10 (12), e0144643. ISSN 1932-6203. Article.
In this work we apply techniques and modus operandi typical of Statistical Mechanics to a large dataset about key social quantifiers and compare the resulting behaviors of five European nations, namely France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. The social quantifiers considered are i. the evolution of the number of autochthonous marriages (i.e., between two natives) within a given territorial district and ii. the evolution of the number of mixed marriages (i.e., between a native and an immigrant) within a given territorial district. Our investigations are twofold. From a theoretical perspective, we develop novel techniques, complementary to classical methods (e.g., historical series and logistic regression), in order to detect possible collective features underlying the empirical behaviors; from an experimental perspective, we evidence a clear outline for the evolution of the social quantifiers considered. The comparison between experimental results and theoretical predictions is excellent and allows speculating that France, Italy and Spain display a certain degree of internal heterogeneity, that is not found in Germany and Switzerland; such heterogeneity, quite mild in France and in Spain, is not negligible in Italy and highlights quantitative differences in the habits of Northern and Southern regions. These findings may suggest the persistence of two culturally distinct communities, long-term lasting heritages of different and well-established customs. Also, we find qualitative differences between the evolution of autochthonous and of mixed marriages: for the former imitation in decisional mechanisms seems to play a key role (and this results in a square root relation between the number of autochthonous marriages versus the percentage of possible couples inside that country), while for the latter the emerging behavior can be recovered (in most cases) with elementary models with no interactions, suggesting weak imitation patterns between natives and migrants (and this translates in a linear growth for the number of mixed marriages versus the percentage of possible mixed couples in the country). However, the case of mixed marriages displays a more complex phenomenology, where further details (e.g., the provenance and the status of migrants, linguistic barriers, etc.) should also be accounted for.
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