Agent Based Modeling

Provided by: 



Altro PhD (Economics)









Educational Goals: 

This course is intended to serve as a broad introduction to the huge literature using agent-based computational approaches to the study of economic dynamics. It is organized in three parts. The first one (ÒWhy?Ó) will discuss the roots of the critiques to the mainstream paradigm from a methodological, empirical and experimental perspective. We shall briefly review the building blocks of mainstream models (rationality, equilibrium, interactions, etc.) and shortly present some of the evidence coming from cognitive psychology and experimental economics, network theory and empirical studies, supporting the idea that bounded rationality, non-trivial interactions, non-equilibrium dynamics, heterogeneity, etc. are irreducible features of modern economies. In the second part (ÒWhat?Ó) we shall discuss what ACE is and what are its main tools of analysis. We will define an ABM and present many examples of classes of ABMS, from the simplest (cellular automata, evolutionary games) to the most complicated ones (micro-founded macro models). The third part (ÒHow?Ó) aims at understanding how ABMs can be designed, implemented and statistically analyzed. We shall briefly present the basics of programming, by both discussing the pros and cons of using simulation platforms (Matlab, NetLogo, Swarm, LSD, etc.) vs. computer languages (Java, C++, etc.) and providing some simple Òhands-onÓ applications to cellular automata. Finally, we will see how the outputs of ABMs simulation should be treated from a statistical point of view (e.g., Montecarlo techniques) and we will discuss two hot topics in ABM research: empirical validation and policy analysis. Syllabus: Part I. Why? Why Agent-Based Computational Economics (ACE) and Agent-Based Models (ABMs)? Empirical and theoretical underpinnings. Part II. What? The structure of ABMs; Flexibility of ABMs; Examples. Part III: How? Designing and implementing ABMS; Statistical analysis of ABMs; Applications. Part IV: Selected Topics in ACE; Empirical validation; Macroeconomic policy; Object-oriented programming.
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