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Agent-Based Computational Models and Generative Social Science
[Generative Social Science Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling]

  • Joshua M. Epstein

    (Brookings Institution, Brookings-Johns Hopkins Center on Social and Economic Dynamics, Santa Fe Institute)

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    Agent-based computational modeling is changing the face of social science. In Generative Social Science , Joshua Epstein argues that this powerful, novel technique permits the social sciences to meet a fundamentally new standard of explanation, in which one "grows" the phenomenon of interest in an artificial society of interacting agents: heterogeneous, boundedly rational actors, represented as mathematical or software objects. After elaborating this notion of generative explanation in a pair of overarching foundational chapters, Epstein illustrates it with examples chosen from such far-flung fields as archaeology, civil conflict, the evolution of norms, epidemiology, retirement economics, spatial games, and organizational adaptation. In elegant chapter preludes, he explains how these widely diverse modeling studies support his sweeping case for generative explanation. This book represents a powerful consolidation of Epstein's interdisciplinary research activities in the decade since the publication of his and Robert Axtell's landmark volume, Growing Artificial Societies . Beautifully illustrated, Generative Social Science includes a CD that contains animated movies of core model runs, and programs allowing users to easily change assumptions and explore models, making it an invaluable text for courses in modeling at all levels.

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    This chapter was published in: Joshua M. Epstein , , pages , 2007.
    This item is provided by Princeton University Press in its series Introductory Chapters with number 8277-1.
    Handle: RePEc:pup:chapts:8277-1
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://press.princeton.edu

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    1. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
    2. Neyman, Abraham, 1985. "Bounded complexity justifies cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 227-229.
    3. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    4. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
    5. Dan Ashlock & Mark D. Smucker & E. Ann Stanley & Leigh Tesfatsion, 1995. "Preferential Partner Selection in an Evolutionary Study of Prisoner's Dilemma," Game Theory and Information 9501002, EconWPA, revised 20 Jan 1995.
    6. James Bullard & John Duffy, 1998. "Learning and excess volatility," Working Papers 1998-016, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    7. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
    8. Kai Nagel & Steen Rasmussen, 1994. "Traffic at the Edge of Chaos," Working Papers 94-06-032, Santa Fe Institute.
    9. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S251-78, October.
    10. Kirman, Alan P. & Vriend, Nicolaas J., 2001. "Evolving market structure: An ACE model of price dispersion and loyalty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(3-4), pages 459-502, March.
    11. Colin F. Camerer, 1997. "Progress in Behavioral Game Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 167-188, Fall.
    12. Jeffrey S. Dean & George J. Gumerman & Joshua M. Epstein & Robert Axtell & Alan C. Swedlund & Miles T. Parker & Steven McCarroll, 1998. "Understanding Anasazi Culture Change Through Agent-Based Modeling," Working Papers 98-10-094, Santa Fe Institute.
    13. Robert Axtell, 1999. "The Emergence of Firms in a Population of Agents," Working Papers 99-03-019, Santa Fe Institute.
    14. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
    15. P. Bak & M. Paczuski & Martin Shubik, 1996. "Price Variations in a Stock Market with Many Agents," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1132, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    16. 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, June.
    17. William D. Nordhaus, 1992. "Lethal Model 2: The Limits to Growth Revisited," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 1-60.
    18. Leigh TESFATSION, 1995. "A Trade Network Game With Endogenous Partner Selection," Economic Report 36, Iowa State University Department of Economics.
    19. Alan P. Kirman, 1992. "Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
    20. Peter Bak & Kan Chen & Jose Scheinkman & Michael Woodford, 1992. "Aggregate Fluctuations from Independent Sectoral Shocks: Self-Organized Criticality in a Model of Production and Inventory Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 4241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Robert Axtell & Robert Axelrod & Joshua M. Epstein & Michael D. Cohen, 1995. "Aligning Simulation Models: A Case Study and Results," Working Papers 95-07-065, Santa Fe Institute.
    22. Blume,L.E. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "The interactions-based approach to socioeconomic behavior," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    23. 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.
    24. Colin F. Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-219, Spring.
    25. Prasad, Kislaya, 1997. "On the computability of Nash equilibria," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 943-953, June.
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