Multi-agent simulations to explore rules for rural credit in a highland farming community of Northern Thailand
Multi-agent systems (MAS) open new modelling and analysis perspectives in ecological and social sciences. An original characteristic of the companion modelling (ComMod) approach adopted in this case study is the co-construction and use of a MAS model with and for local stakeholders such as farmers and local administrators. Alternating iteratively field and modelling activities, this approach facilitates collective learning among local stakeholders and between them and the researchers. Combining the use of MAS models with role-playing games (RPG), the described experiment aimed to facilitate collective decision-making in a socially heterogeneous community of small farmers in mountainous Northern Thailand about the local rules for the allocation of rural credit to allow a more equitable and extensive process of expansion of non-erosive perennial crops in a watershed prone to erosion. This paper presents the MAS model and the results of a series of simulations exploring the ecological, social and economic effects of various rules for formal and informal credit suggested by the villagers-participants. Six scenarios considered as pertinent to further explore the participants' suggestions were defined based on different combinations among the following three variables: (i) Duration for the reimbursement of loans, (ii) Mode of allocation of formal credit among three different types of farms, (iii) Configuration of networks of acquaintances for access to informal credit. Drawing on this case study, we first elaborate on the potential of bottom-up models such as MAS to analyze the functioning of agricultural systems, in particular farm differentiation and rural credit dynamics. We highlight the ability of MAS to deal with interactions between social and ecological dynamics and to provide an alternative to classical economic thinking by analyzing the effects at the village level of social interactions among individuals. MAS allow us in particular to trigger an overlooked but nevertheless fundamental aspect of socio-ecological systems, i.e. social capital which is a determining factor when dealing with sustainability issues. The second question addressed in this paper deals with the potential and limits of MAS models to support a bottom-up (or participatory) modelling approach. This experiment suggests that the usefulness of models relies much more on the modelling process than on the model itself, because a model is usually useless if it is misunderstood by its potential users, or if it does not respond to their current preoccupations. The intuitive representation of real systems provided by MAS and their high flexibility are the two underlined characteristics favouring their appropriation by local stakeholders.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Dorward, A. R., 1996. "Modelling diversity, change and uncertainty in peasant agriculture in northern Malawi," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 469-486, August.
- Michel Etienne, 2003. "SYLVOPAST: a Multiple Target Role-Playing Game to Assess Negotiation Processes in Sylvopastoral Management Planning," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 6(2), pages 5.
- BOULANGER, Paul-Marie & BRECHET, Thierry, .
"Models for policy-making in sustainable development: the state of the art and perspectives for research,"
CORE Discussion Papers RP
1861, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Boulanger, Paul-Marie & Brechet, Thierry, 2005. "Models for policy-making in sustainable development: The state of the art and perspectives for research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 337-350, November.
- Landais, E., 1998. "Modelling farm diversity: new approaches to typology building in France," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 505-527, December.
- Scott Moss & Bruce Edmonds, 2005. "Towards Good Social Science," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 8(4), pages 13.
- Coleman, Brett E., 2006. "Microfinance in Northeast Thailand: Who benefits and how much?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1612-1638, September.
- Olivier Barreteau, 2003. "Our Companion Modelling Approach," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 6(2), pages 1.
- Gintis, Herbert, 2000. "Beyond Homo economicus: evidence from experimental economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 311-322, December.
- Jain, Sanjay, 1999. "Symbiosis vs. crowding-out: the interaction of formal and informal credit markets in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 419-444, August.
- Berger, Thomas, 2001. "Agent-based spatial models applied to agriculture: a simulation tool for technology diffusion, resource use changes and policy analysis," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 25(2-3), pages 245-260, September.
- Patrick D'Aquino & Christophe Le Page & François Bousquet & Alassane Bah, 2003. "Using Self-Designed Role-Playing Games and a Multi-Agent System to Empower a Local Decision-Making Process for Land Use Management: the SelfCormas Experiment in Senegal," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 6(3), pages 5.
- Berger, Thomas & Schreinemachers, Pepijn & Woelcke, Johannes, 2006. "Multi-agent simulation for the targeting of development policies in less-favored areas," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 28-43, April.
- Janssen, Marco & de Vries, Bert, 1998. "The battle of perspectives: a multi-agent model with adaptive responses to climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 43-65, July.
- Gupta, Manash Ranjan & Chaudhuri, Sarbajit, 1997. "Formal Credit, Corruption and the Informal Credit Market in Agriculture: A Theoretical Analysis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(254), pages 331-43, May.
- Jager, W. & Janssen, M. A. & De Vries, H. J. M. & De Greef, J. & Vlek, C. A. J., 2000. "Behaviour in commons dilemmas: Homo economicus and Homo psychologicus in an ecological-economic model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 357-379, December.
- Olivier Barreteau & François Bousquet & Jean-Marie Attonaty, 2001. "Role-Playing Games for Opening the Black Box of Multi-Agent Systems: Method and Lessons of Its Application to Senegal River Valley Irrigated Systems," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 4(2), pages 5.
- Berger, Thomas, 2001. "Agent-based spatial models applied to agriculture: a simulation tool for technology diffusion, resource use changes and policy analysis," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 25(2-3), September.
- Arthur, W Brian, 1991. "Designing Economic Agents that Act Like Human Agents: A Behavioral Approach to Bounded Rationality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 353-59, May.
- Rudd, Murray A., 2000. "Live long and prosper: collective action, social capital and social vision," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 131-144, July.
- Bell, Clive, 1990. "Interactions between Institutional and Informal Credit Agencies in Rural India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 297-327, September.
- Bose, Pinaki, 1998. "Formal-informal sector interaction in rural credit markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 265-280, August.
- Robert Axelrod, 1997. "Advancing the Art of Simulation in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 97-05-048, Santa Fe Institute.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:66:y:2008:i:4:p:615-627. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.