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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
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    1. James Bullard & John Duffy, 1998. "Learning and excess volatility," Working Papers 1998-016, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Robert Axtell, 1999. "The Emergence of Firms in a Population of Agents," Working Papers 99-03-019, Santa Fe Institute.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Ashlock, Daniel & Smucker, Mark D. & Stanley, E. Ann & Tesfatsion, Leigh S., 1996. "Preferential Partner Selection in an Evolutionary Study of Prisoner's Dilemma," Staff General Research Papers 1687, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Colin F. Camerer, 1997. "Progress in Behavioral Game Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 167-188, Fall.
    9. Prasad, Kislaya, 1997. "On the computability of Nash equilibria," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 943-953, June.
    10. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
    11. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8jd5z5j2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    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. 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.
    14. Kai Nagel & Steen Rasmussen, 1994. "Traffic at the Edge of Chaos," Working Papers 94-06-032, Santa Fe Institute.
    15. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
    16. 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.
    17. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521425230 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Tesfatsion, Leigh, 1997. "A Trade Network Game with Endogenous Partner Selection," Staff General Research Papers 1680, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    22. 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.
    23. 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.
    24. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521415019 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Blume,L.E. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "The interactions-based approach to socioeconomic behavior," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    26. 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.
    27. Neyman, Abraham, 1985. "Bounded complexity justifies cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 227-229.
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