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Many aggregate patterns can be explained as emerging from complex systems of heterogeneous agents, in which the interaction of agents at the micro level forms the macro properties of the economic system, thereby determining the emergence of macro regularities such as economic growth, unemployment, and income distribution. This important link between the micro and macro level of an economic system has not received sufficient attention in the economic theory, which has traditionally been split in the two domains of microeconomics and macroeconomics. In the past, when building an economic model, large sacrifices with respect to realism had to be made in order to maintain analytical tractability. Frequently, macroeconomic models received a “microfoundation” by assuming that the population consisted of one single representative agent (or an army of "identical clones"). While this helped to keep the models tractable, a large amount of potential investigations were ruled out by assumption.
The growth of computational power and the increased affordability of computers opened up new perspectives on the exploration of socially relevant questions. Agent-based economics can provide solutions to problems that are difficult to study with the methodological standard toolkit of economists. Indeed, models with heterogeneous agents can replicate artificial economies populated by a vast multitude of agents whose interactions can give rise to stable and predictable, as well as highly volatile, aggregate configurations at the macro level. Such methodology allows for the presence of feedbacks among agents and the economic environment in which they interact, such as the emergence of credit networks with possible contagion effects, the endogenous appearance of boom and bust cycles, as well as the emerging distributions on the firm and household level.
Aims and scope
The Workshop on Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents (WEHIA) is the annual conference of the Society for Economic Studies with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents. WEHIA 2017 represents a unique opportunity to present discuss the latest research on various aspects of the economy as a complex system made up of heterogeneous interacting agents. Research from different domains – economics, psychology, sociology, computer sciences, engineering, physics – can prove useful in developing new insightful approaches to key issues such as the origin, development and mitigation of financial crises, unemployment and poverty, income and wealth inequality and many others.
- Agent Based Models (ABMs): theory and computation, calibration and estimation
- Macroeconomic ABMs: emergence of financially driven business fluctuations and crises, growth and technical change, sustainable development and climate change
- DSGE models with heterogeneous agents
- Microeconomic ABMs: emergence of market structure
- Economic and financial networks
- Econophysics: application of statistical physics methods and percolation theory to economic issues
- Experimental economics
- Bounded rationality and learning
- Evolutionary game theory
- Spatial agent models and urban complex adaptive systems
- Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in Economics