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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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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Foster, John, 2018. "The Consumption Function: A New Perspective," MPRA Paper 84383, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. 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.
    6. Matthias Aistleitner & Claudius Graebner & Anna Hornykewycz, 2020. "Theory and Empirics of Capability Accumulation: Implications for Macroeconomic Modelling," ICAE Working Papers 105, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.

    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;

    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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