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SOCIODYNAMICA: An agent based computer simulation studying the interacting web of biological, social and economic behaviors

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  • Klaus Jaffe
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    Sociodynamics is an interdisciplinary attempt to study the dynamics of complex systems within the conceptual frame of subjects spanning biology, sociology, politics, history, economy and other sciences. For this purpose, the agent based computer simulation Sociodynamica has been developed to study the effect of attitudes and behaviors on aggregate wealth accumulation and other macro-economic parameters in artificial societies. The model simulates a continuous two-dimensional toroidal world through which different types of agents interact in an economically meaningful environment. The simulations test for the effect of different financial structures, such as barter, money, banks and derivatives on the ability of the virtual system to produce and accumulate wealth. Sociodynamica allows exploring the effect of heterogeneous distribution of labor, different types of organizations, variable properties of natural resources, different altruistic, emotive or rational behaviors of agents, and other features on the economic dynamic of the system. The results can be compared with known economic phenomena to test for the robustness of the assumptions used. The simulations help us in understanding and quantifying the relevance of different interactions that occur at the micro-economic level to the outcome of macroeconomic variables. Sociodynamica is proposed as an analytically useful a metaphor for a complex poly-ethic society of agents living in a free competitive market. Some concrete examples of the working of altruism, division of labor and banks on macroeconomic variables are provided. Two important results achieved so far are: 1- A precise differentiation between altruism and social investment that help clarify divergences in ongoing discussion of the subject among physicists, ecologists, game theorists, computer scientists, ethologists and economists. 2- A demonstration that optimal behavior of agents differ for different economic environments. Specifically, optimal behavior for undifferentiated hunter-gatherer economies, for agricultural societies, and for highly labor-differentiated technical societies is very different regarding optimal levels of mutual cooperation and other basic behaviors

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    Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 with number 283.

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    Date of creation: 11 Nov 2005
    Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf5:283
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