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Agents Come to Bits: Towards a Constructive Comprehensive Taxonomy of Economic Entities

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  • Tesfatsion, Leigh S.

Abstract

This essay is an invited comment on Philip Mirowski's essay titled "Markets Come to Bits: Evolution, Computation, and Markomata in Economic Science," also to appear in JEBO. In his usual brilliant and provocative style, Mirowski argues for a constructive approach to economic modeling centered on the computational representation of markets as integrated sets of algorithms that evolve over time. This essay counters that a broader constructive approach to economic modeling can and should be taken. The recent advent of powerful computer technologies supporting Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) renders feasible the computational study of economies modeled as evolving systems of interacting agents. In ABM, an "agent" refers broadly to bundled data and behavioral methods representing an entity constituting part of a computationally constructed world. Examples of possible agent referents include individuals, social groupings, institutions (e.g., markets), biological entities such as crops, and physical entities such as transportation networks and weather. Consequently, ABM provides tremendous opportunities for economists and other social scientists to tailor the breadth and depth of the entities represented in their models to the application at hand. A simple ABM of a two-sector decentralized market economy is used for concrete illustration. Annotated pointers to related work can be accessed here: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/ace.htm

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12513.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2007
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 2007, vol. 63, pp. 333-346
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12513

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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References

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  1. Tesfatsion, Leigh, 2006. "Agent-Based Computational Economics: A Constructive Approach to Economic Theory," Handbook of Computational Economics, in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 831-880 Elsevier.
  2. Joshua M. Epstein & Robert L. Axtell, 1996. "Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550253, December.
  3. Albin, Peter & Foley, Duncan K., 1992. "Decentralized, dispersed exchange without an auctioneer : A simulation study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 27-51, June.
  4. Leigh Tesfatsion, 2002. "Agent-Based Computational Economics," Computational Economics 0203001, EconWPA, revised 15 Aug 2002.
  5. Leigh Tesfatsion, 2005. "Agent-Based Computational Laboratories for the Experimental Study of Complex Economic Systems," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 72, Society for Computational Economics.
  6. Axelrod, Robert & Tesfatsion, Leigh, 2006. "A Guide for Newcomers to Agent-Based Modeling in the Social Sciences," Staff General Research Papers 12515, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Epstein, Joshua M., 2006. "Remarks on the Foundations of Agent-Based Generative Social Science," Handbook of Computational Economics, in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 34, pages 1585-1604 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Dan Farhat, 2011. "Bookworms versus Party Animals: An Artificial Labor Market with Human and Social Capital Accumulation," Working Papers 1103, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised May 2011.
  2. Dan Farhat, 2013. "The Economics of Vampires: An Agent-based Perspective," Working Papers 1301, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2013.
  3. Federico Pablo-Martí & Antonio García-Tabuenca & Tomás Mancha, 2013. "AMOEBA: An Agent-based Model Of Entrepreneurship and Business Activities," ERSA conference papers ersa13p717, European Regional Science Association.

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