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The Promises and Perils of Agent-Based Computational Economics

Author

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  • Matteo Richiardi

    (LABORatorio Revelli Centre for Employment Studies)

Abstract

In this paper I analyse the main strengths and weaknesses of agent-based computational models. I first describe how agent-based simulations can complement more traditional modelling techniques. Then, I rationalise the main theoretical critiques against the use of simulation, which point to the following problematic areas: (i) interpretation of the simulation dynamics, (ii) estimation of the simulation model, and (iii) generalisation of the results. I show that there exist solutions for all these issues. Along the way, I clarify some confounding differences in terminology between the computer science and the economic literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Matteo Richiardi, 2004. "The Promises and Perils of Agent-Based Computational Economics," Computational Economics 0401001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpco:0401001
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on WinXP; pages: 28; figures: 2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gerard Weisbuch & Alan Kirman & Dorothea Herreiner, 1995. "Market Organization," Working Papers 95-11-102, Santa Fe Institute.
    2. McFadden, Daniel, 1989. "A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models without Numerical Integration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 995-1026, September.
    3. Steven Stern, 1997. "Simulation-Based Estimation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 2006-2039, December.
    4. Pakes, Ariel & Pollard, David, 1989. "Simulation and the Asymptotics of Optimization Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 1027-1057, September.
    5. Nigel Gilbert & Pietro Terna, 2000. "How to build and use agent-based models in social science," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 1(1), pages 57-72, March.
    6. Manuel S. Santos & Adrian Peralta-Alva, 2005. "Accuracy of Simulations for Stochastic Dynamic Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1939-1976, November.
    7. Matteo Richiardi, 2003. "The Promises and Perils of Agent-Based Computational Economics," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 29, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    8. Freeman, Richard B., 1998. "War of the models: Which labour market institutions for the 21st century?1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, March.
    9. Robert Axelrod, 1997. "Advancing the Art of Simulation in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 97-05-048, Santa Fe Institute.
    10. Chris Goldspink, 2002. "Methodological Implications of Complex Systems Approaches to Sociality: Simulation As a Foundation for Knowledge," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 5(1), pages 1-3.
    11. Daniel Ackerberg, 2009. "A new use of importance sampling to reduce computational burden in simulation estimation," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 343-376, December.
    12. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
    13. David Hendry & Maozu Lu & Grayham E. Mizon, 2001. "Model Identification and Non-unique Structure," Economics Papers 2002-W10, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    14. Mark Pingle & Leigh Tesfatsion, 2004. "Evolution Of Worker-Employer Networks And Behaviors Under Alternative Non-Employment Benefits: An Agent-Based Computational Study," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Industry And Labor Dynamics The Agent-Based Computational Economics Approach, chapter 8, pages 129-163 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    15. Matteo Richiardi, 2007. "Agent-based Computational Economics. A Short Introduction," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 69, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    16. Leigh Tesfatsion, 2002. "Agent-Based Computational Economics," Computational Economics 0203001, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Aug 2002.
    17. Roberto Leombruni, 2002. "The Methodological Status of Agent-Based Simulations," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 19, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giorgio Fagiolo & Paul Windrum & Alessio Moneta, 2006. "Empirical Validation of Agent Based Models: A Critical Survey," LEM Papers Series 2006/14, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Matteo Richiardi, 2003. "The Promises and Perils of Agent-Based Computational Economics," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 29, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    3. Juan Manuel Larrosa, 2016. "Agentes computacionales y análisis económico," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 18(34), pages 87-113, January-J.
    4. Giorgio Fagiolo & Alessio Moneta & Paul Windrum, 2007. "A Critical Guide to Empirical Validation of Agent-Based Models in Economics: Methodologies, Procedures, and Open Problems," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 195-226, October.
    5. Matteo Richiardi, 2003. "On the Use of Agent-Based Simulations," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 32, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    6. Schuster, Stephan, 2012. "Applications in Agent-Based Computational Economics," MPRA Paper 47201, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Paul Windrum & Giorgio Fagiolo & Alessio Moneta, 2007. "Empirical Validation of Agent-Based Models: Alternatives and Prospects," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 10(2), pages 1-8.
    8. repec:eee:rensus:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:61-71 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Nils ROLOFF & Ulrike LEHR & Wolfram KREWITT & Gerhard FUCHS & Sandra WASSERMANN & Wolfganf WEIMER-JEHLE & Bernd SCHMIDT, "undated". "Success Determinants for Technological Innovations in the Energy Sector - The Case of Photovoltaics," EcoMod2008 23800118, EcoMod.
    10. Weidlich, Anke & Veit, Daniel, 2008. "A critical survey of agent-based wholesale electricity market models," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1728-1759, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agent-based; Simulation; Microsimulation; Computational Economics; Structural Estimation; Economic methodology;

    JEL classification:

    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs

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