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More is Different ... and Complex! The Case for Agent-Based Macroeconomics

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  • Giovanni Dosi
  • Andrea Roventini

Abstract

This work nests the Agent-Based macroeconomic perspective into the earlier history of macroeconomics. We discuss how the discipline in the 70's took a perverse path relying on models grounded on fictitious rational representative agent in order to try to pathetically circumvent aggregation and coordination problems. The Great Recession was a natural experiment for macroeconomics, showing the inadequacy of the predominant theoretical framework grounded on DSGE models. After discussing the pathological fallacies of the DSGE-based approach, we claim that macroeconomics should consider the economy as a complex evolving system, i.e. as an ecology populated by heterogenous agents, whose far-from-equilibrium interactions continuously change the structure of the system. This in turn implies that more is different: macroeconomics cannot be shrink to representative-agent micro, but agents' complex interactions lead to emergence of new phenomena and hierarchical structure at the macro level. This is what is taken into account by agent-based models, which provide a novel way to model complex economies from the bottom-up, with sound empirically-based micro-foundations. We present the foundations of Agent-Based macroeconomics and we discuss how the contributions of this special issue push its frontier forward. Finally, we conclude by discussing the ways ahead for the fully acknowledgement of agent-based models as the standard way of theorizing in macroeconomics.

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  • Giovanni Dosi & Andrea Roventini, 2019. "More is Different ... and Complex! The Case for Agent-Based Macroeconomics," LEM Papers Series 2019/01, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2019/01
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    2. Federico Guglielmo Morelli & Michael Benzaquen & Marco Tarzia & Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, 2020. "Confidence collapse in a multihousehold, self-reflexive DSGE model," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117(17), pages 9244-9249, April.
    3. Giovanni Dosi & Andrea Roventini & Emanuele Russo, 2020. "Public policies and the art of catching up: matching the historical evidence with a multi-country agent-based model," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2020-18, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    4. Foster, John, 2018. "The Consumption Function: A New Perspective," MPRA Paper 84383, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Elisa Palagi & Mauro Napoletano & Andrea Roventini & Jean-Luc Gaffard, 2021. "An agent-based model of trickle-up growth and income inequality," Working Papers hal-03373193, HAL.
    6. Federico Morelli & Michael Benzaquen & Marco Tarzia & Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, 2020. "Confidence Collapse in a Multi-Household, Self-Reflexive DSGE Model," Post-Print hal-02323098, HAL.
    7. Giovanni Dosi & Andrea Roventini & Emmanuele Russo, 2020. "Public Policies And The Art Of Catching Up," Working Papers hal-03242369, HAL.
    8. Dosi, Giovanni & Roventini, Andrea & Russo, Emanuele, 2019. "Endogenous growth and global divergence in a multi-country agent-based model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 101-129.
    9. Aistleitner, Matthias & Gräbner, Claudius & Hornykewycz, Anna, 2021. "Theory and empirics of capability accumulation: Implications for macroeconomic modeling," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(6).
    10. Florent Bordot & André Lorentz, 2021. "Automation and labor market polarization in an evolutionary model with heterogeneous workers," Working Papers of BETA 2021-39, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    11. Annicchiarico, Barbara & Surricchio, Silvia & Waldmann, Robert J., 2019. "A behavioral model of the credit cycle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 53-83.
    12. Elisa Palagi & Mauro Napoletano & Andrea Roventini & Jean-Luc Gaffard, 2021. "An agent-based model of trickle-up growth and income inequality," LEM Papers Series 2021/23, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    13. Andrea Vandin & Daniele Giachini & Francesco Lamperti & Francesca Chiaromonte, 2021. "Automated and Distributed Statistical Analysis of Economic Agent-Based Models," Papers 2102.05405, arXiv.org.
    14. Monasterolo, Irene & Roventini, Andrea & Foxon, Tim J., 2019. "Uncertainty of climate policies and implications for economics and finance: An evolutionary economics approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 177-182.
    15. Andrea Vandin & Daniele Giachini & Francesco Lamperti & Francesca Chiaromonte, 2020. "Automated and Distributed Statistical Analysis of Economic Agent-Based Models," LEM Papers Series 2020/31, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    16. Popoyan, Lilit & Napoletano, Mauro & Roventini, Andrea, 2020. "Winter is possibly not coming: Mitigating financial instability in an agent-based model with interbank market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 117(C).
    17. Bertani, Filippo & Raberto, Marco & Teglio, Andrea & Cincotti, Silvano, 2021. "Digital Innovation and its Potential Consequences: the Elasticity Augmenting Approach," MPRA Paper 105326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Lamperti, Francesco & Bosetti, Valentina & Roventini, Andrea & Tavoni, Massimo & Treibich, Tania, 2021. "Three green financial policies to address climate risks," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    19. Andrea Borsato, 2021. "Simple Matching Protocols for Agent-based Models," Working Papers of BETA 2021-35, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    20. Matteo Coronese & Martina Occelli & Francesco Lamperti & Andrea Roventini, 2021. "AgriLOVE: agriculture, land-use and technical change in an evolutionary, agent-based model," LEM Papers Series 2021/35, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    21. Lilit Popoyan & Mauro Napoletano & Andrea Roventini, 2019. "Winter is possibly not coming: mitigating financial instability in an agent-based model with interbank market," Working Papers hal-03403274, HAL.
    22. Giovanni Dosi & Marcelo C. Pereira & Andrea Roventini & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2021. "Technological paradigms, labour creation and destruction in a multi-sector agent-based model," LEM Papers Series 2021/17, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    23. Silvano Cincotti & Wolfram Elsner & Nathalie Lazaric & Anastasia Nesvetailova & Engelbert Stockhammer, 2020. "Towards an evolutionary political economy. Editorial to the inaugural issue of the Review of Evolutionary Political Economy REPE," Review of Evolutionary Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-12, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Macroeconomics; Economic Policy; Keynesian Theory; New Neoclassical Synthesis; New Keynesian Models; DSGE Models; Agent-Based Evolutionary Models; Complexity Theory; Great Recession; Crisis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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