Agent-based modelling. History, essence, future

Gerhard Hanappi


The paper characterizes the currently fashionable modelling tool, agent-based simulation. First, it presents a selection of the major intellectual roots from which this new tool emerged. It is important for social scientists, in particular economists, to see that two relevant impacts came from neighbouring disciplines: biology and network theory. Then, the paper discusses the essential features that are characteristic of an agent-based model. Since there are currently several different opinions on this topic, the one presented here includes an epistemologically oriented discussion to support its plausibility. In particular, the notion of emergence is scrutinized and extended. Finally, the paper presents a short recipe on how to build an agent-based model, and some ideas on the possible future of agent based modelling.

Keywords: Agent-based modelling; economic simulation models; evolutionary economics

JEL codes: B20, B41, C63


Agent-based modelling; economic simulation models; evolutionary economics

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