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From Bioeconomic Farm Models to Multi-Agent Systems: Challenges for Parameterization and Validation

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  • Berger, Thomas
  • Schreinemachers, Pepijn

Abstract

Bioeconomic farm models have been very instrumental in capturing the technical aspects of human-nature interactions and in highlighting the economic consequences of resource use changes. They may elucidate the tradeoffs that farm households face in crop choice and farming practices, assess the profitability of various land-use options and capture the internal costs of adjusting to changes in environmental and market conditions. But they face also limitations when it comes to analyzing situations, in which heterogeneity of households and landscapes is large and increasing. Multi-agent models building on the bioeconomic farm approach hold the promise of capturing more fully the heterogeneity and interactions of farm households. The fulfillment of this promise, however, depends on the empirical parameterization and validation of multi-agent models. Although multi-agent models have been widely applied in experimental and hypothetical settings, only few studies have tried to build empirical multi-agent models and the literature on methods of parameterization and validation is therefore limited. This paper suggests novel methods for the empirical parameterization and validation of multiagent models that may comply with the high standards established in bioeconomic farm modeling. The biophysical measurements (here: soil properties) are extrapolated over the landscape using multiple regressions and a Digital Elevation Model. The socioeconomic surveys are used to estimate probability functions for key characteristics of human actors, which are then assigned to the model agents with Monte-Carlo techniques. This approach generates a landscape and agent populations that are robust and statistically consistent with empirical observations.

Suggested Citation

  • Berger, Thomas & Schreinemachers, Pepijn, 2006. "From Bioeconomic Farm Models to Multi-Agent Systems: Challenges for Parameterization and Validation," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25577, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25577
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Holden, Stein & Shiferaw, Bekele & Pender, John, 2004. "Non-farm income, household welfare, and sustainable land management in a less-favoured area in the Ethiopian highlands," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 369-392, August.
    2. 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.
    3. Barbier, Bruno, 1998. "Induced innovation and land degradation: Results from a bioeconomic model of a village in West Africa," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 19(1-2), September.
    4. Pender, John & Jagger, Pamela & Nkonya, Ephraim & Sserunkuuma, Dick, 2004. "Development Pathways and Land Management in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 767-792, May.
    5. Holden, Stein & Shiferaw, Bekele, 2004. "Land degradation, drought and food security in a less-favoured area in the Ethiopian highlands: a bio-economic model with market imperfections," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 31-49, January.
    6. Kathrin Happe, 2005. "Agricultural policies and farm structures - agent-based simulation and application to EU-policy reform," Others 0504011, EconWPA.
    7. Balmann, Alfons, 1997. "Farm-Based Modelling of Regional Structural Change: A Cellular Automata Approach," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 85-108.
    8. 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.
    9. Barbier, Bruno, 1998. "Induced innovation and land degradation: Results from a bioeconomic model of a village in West Africa," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 15-25, September.
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    Keywords

    Farm Management;

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