IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Intending the Unintended: The act of building agent-based models as a regular source of knowledge generation

Listed author(s):
  • Erik Johnston


    (School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University)

  • Yushim Kim

    (School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University)

  • Mitali Ayyangar

    (School of Planning, Arizona State University)

Registered author(s):

    Poverty is a complex issue that is rarely conducive to analysis in laboratory or field experiments. Effective interventions that aim to decrease or eliminate poverty require an understanding of the intricate web of associated social issues. The need for this increased comprehension necessitates the use of alternative robust means of analysis: one such being agent-based modelling. The strengths of agent-based modelling to disaggregate complex social behaviours and understand them are well known. However, while people have explored how the modelling process can prove to be fruitful, the usually unintended insight gained and the knowledge engendered during the model design process goes largely unnoticed. In this paper, we aspire to show precisely how the model building process is critical in leading to unintended knowledge generation for modellers by drawing from three US based examples where agent-based modelling was used to aid research into the effects of interventions that address poverty and human development through programs and issues facing low-income families. With these examples, we illustrate some of the means to harness new knowledge generated. In our discussion, we also highlight the advantageous nature of agent-based model design as an independent source of knowledge generation. Classification-ACM-1998: I.6.5 Model Development

    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.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: in its journal Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 81-91

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:5:y:2007:i:2:p:81-91
    Contact details of provider:

    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.:

    in new window

    1. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1990. "Tacit Coordination Games, Strategic Uncertainty, and Coordination Failure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 234-248, March.
    2. Oliveira, Victor & Racine, Elizabeth & Olmsted, Jennifer & Ghelfi, Linda M., 2002. "The Wic Program: Background, Trends, And Issues," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33847, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Xiaoguang Gong & Renbin Xiao, 2007. "Research on Multi-Agent Simulation of Epidemic News Spread Characteristics," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 10(3), pages 1-1.
    4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521555838 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. GĂ©rard P. Cachon & Colin F. Camerer, 1996. "Loss-Avoidance and Forward Induction in Experimental Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 165-194.
    6. Michael Moehring & Klaus G. Troitzsch, 2001. "Lake Anderson Revisited by Agents," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 4(3), pages 1-1.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:5:y:2007:i:2:p:81-91. 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: (Josip Stepanic)

    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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.