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A Common Protocol for Agent-Based Social Simulation

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  • Roberto Leombruni
  • Matteo Richiardi
  • Nicole J. Saam
  • Michele Sonnessa

Abstract

Traditional (i.e. analytical) modelling practices in the social sciences rely on a very well established, although implicit, methodological protocol, both with respect to the way models are presented and to the kinds of analysis that are performed. Unfortunately, computer-simulated models often lack such a reference to an accepted methodological standard. This is one of the main reasons for the scepticism among mainstream social scientists that results in low acceptance of papers with agent-based methodology in the top journals. We identify some methodological pitfalls that, according to us, are common in papers employing agent-based simulations, and propose appropriate solutions. We discuss each issue with reference to a general characterization of dynamic micro models, which encompasses both analytical and simulation models. In the way, we also clarify some confusing terminology. We then propose a three-stage process that could lead to the establishment of methodological standards in social and economic simulations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies in its series LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series with number 47.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wplabo:47

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Keywords: Agent-based; simulations; methodology; calibration; validation.;

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References

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  1. Kleijnen, Jack P.C., 1992. "Sensitivity analysis of simulation experiments: regression analysis and statistical design," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-315.
  2. Weisbuch, G. & Kirman, A.P. & Herreiner, D., 1996. "Market Organisation," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 96a20, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  3. Claudia Werker & Thomas Brenner, 2004. "Empirical Calibration of Simulation Models," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-10, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  4. Merz, Joachim, 1994. "Microsimulation - A Survey of Methods and Applications for Analyzing Economic and Social Policy," MPRA Paper 7232, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-37, February.
  6. Arifovic, Jasmina, 1996. "The Behavior of the Exchange Rate in the Genetic Algorithm and Experimental Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 510-41, June.
  7. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "Consumption Growth, the Interest Rate and Aggregation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 631-49, July.
  8. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, December.
  9. Leigh Tesfatsion, 2000. "Agent-Based Computational Economics: A Brief Guide to the Literature," Computational Economics 0004001, EconWPA.
  10. Kleijnen, J.P.C., 1995. "Sensitivity analysis and optimization of system dynamics models: Regression analysis and statistical design of experiments," Discussion Paper 1995-4, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. Nelson Minar & Rogert Burkhart & Chris Langton & Manor Askenazi, 1996. "The Swarm Simulation System: A Toolkit for Building Multi-Agent Simulations," Working Papers 96-06-042, Santa Fe Institute.
  12. Kleijnen, J.P.C., 1995. "Sensitivity analysis and related analysis: A survey of statistical techniques," Research Memorandum 706, Tilburg University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  13. Leigh Tesfatsion, 2002. "Agent-Based Computational Economics," Computational Economics 0203001, EconWPA, revised 15 Aug 2002.
  14. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
  15. Arifovic, Jasmina, 1995. "Genetic algorithms and inflationary economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 219-243, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Anke Weidlich & Daniel Veit, 2008. "Agent-Based Simulations for Electricity Market Regulation Advice: Procedures and an Example," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 228(2+3), pages 149-172, June.
  2. Ian McCarthy, 2008. "Simulating Sequential Search Models with Genetic Algorithms: Analysis of Price Ceilings, Taxes, Advertising and Welfare," Caepr Working Papers 2008-010, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  3. Jakob Grazzini, 2011. "Consistent Estimation of Agent Based Models," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 110, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  4. Albert Banal-Estañol & Augusto Rupérez-Micola, 2010. "Are Agent-based Simulations Robust? The Wholesale Electricity Trading Case," Working Papers 443, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Thomas Brenner & Claudia Werker, 2007. "A Taxonomy of Inference in Simulation Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 227-244, October.
  6. Mercedes Bleda & Simon Shackley, 2012. "Simulation Modelling as a Theory Building Tool: The Formation of Risk Perceptions," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 15(2), pages 2.
  7. Jakob Grazzini, 2012. "Analysis of the Emergent Properties: Stationarity and Ergodicity," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 15(2), pages 7.
  8. Giorgio Fagiolo & Alessio Moneta & Paul Windrum, 2007. "A Critical Guide to Empirical Validation of Agent-Based Models in Economics: Methodologies, Procedures, and Open Problems," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 195-226, October.
  9. Weidlich, Anke & Veit, Daniel, 2008. "A critical survey of agent-based wholesale electricity market models," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1728-1759, July.
  10. Paul Windrum & Giorgio Fagiolo & Alessio Moneta, 2007. "Empirical Validation of Agent-Based Models: Alternatives and Prospects," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 10(2), pages 8.
  11. Zamac, Jovan & Hallberg, Daniel & Lindh, Thomas, 2008. "Low fertility and long run growth in an economy with a large public sector," Arbetsrapport 2008:11, Institute for Futures Studies.
  12. Robert E. Marks, 2013. "Validation and Functional Complexity," Discussion Papers 2013-30, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  13. Karolina Safarzyńska & Jeroen Bergh, 2010. "Evolutionary models in economics: a survey of methods and building blocks," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 329-373, June.
  14. Banal-Estañol, Albert & Rupérez Micola, Augusto, 2011. "Behavioural simulations in spot electricity markets," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 214(1), pages 147-159, October.
  15. Grazzini Jakob, 2011. "Estimating Micromotives from Macrobehavior," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201111, University of Turin.
  16. Stuart Rossiter & Jason Noble & Keith R.W. Bell, 2010. "Social Simulations: Improving Interdisciplinary Understanding of Scientific Positioning and Validity," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 13(1), pages 10.
  17. Rodolphe Buda, 2008. "Two Dimensional Aggregation Procedure: An Alternative to the Matrix Algebraic Algorithm," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 31(4), pages 397-408, May.
  18. Roberto Leombruni & Matteo Richiardi, 2006. "Introduction," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 1-1, February.
  19. Robert Marks, 2007. "Validating Simulation Models: A General Framework and Four Applied Examples," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 265-290, October.
  20. G. Fagiolo & C. Birchenhall & P. Windrum, 2007. "Empirical Validation in Agent-based Models: Introduction to the Special Issue," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 189-194, October.
  21. Giorgio Fagiolo & Paul Windrum & Alessio Moneta, 2006. "Empirical Validation of Agent Based Models: A Critical Survey," LEM Papers Series 2006/14, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  22. J. Gary Polhill, 2010. "ODD Updated," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 13(4), pages 9.

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