Heterogeneous and diverse economic agents: Agent-based computational economics

We are organizing a stream on “Heterogeneous and diverse economic agents: Agent-based computational economics” at the Social Simulation Conference 2021 (SSC2021). The conference will take place in Cracow from September 20-29, 2021.

There is a long and stunning history of economic thought, which, during the last decades, for not to say centuries, has led to the development of a large number of economic theories. At the same time, existing economic theories have frequently been criticized for somewhat restrictive assumptions in that heterogeneity and diversity of economic agents is ignored or even explicitly excluded from analysis: For example, economic models often do not capture aspects of individual capabilities and gender-specific characteristics, they instead rely on the idea of a representative agent (see Kirman AP (1992) Whom or what does the representative individual represent? Journal of Economic Perspectives 6 (2):117-136): In this vein, all agents of one type are represented by one ‘representative’ individual whose choices are regarded to coincide with the aggregate of the agents of one type. On the one hand, these ‘simplifications’ can be seen as virtue as they allow for rigorous closed-form solutions of economic models. On the other hand, these assumptions might be regarded as a pitfall, as they limit the theories’ capabilities to explain empirical phenomena. 

Recent developments — like the rise of new research paradigms, such as social simulation and agent-based computational economics — have opened up entirely new possibilities for research in the academic field of Economics. These allow, for instance, for further enriching economic models with a higher level of heterogeneity and diversity among agents. To do so might not only be of substantial importance for the further development of economic theory but might also help to bridge the gap between research and practice. Moreover, the recent advancement in research paradigms allows studying economic models from an interdisciplinary perspective and — by doing so — contributes to bridging a disciplinary divide and to further include questions of heterogeneity and diversity into economic research.

Topics of interest are (but not limited to):

  • Gender in economic models
  • Self-organization in economics
  • Individual and collective learning
  • Diffusion processes in economic models
  • Social dynamics in economic models
  • Decision-making in complex environments
  • Emergence of macro-dynamic from micro-interactions
  • Self-organization

Further details are provided here.