Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Background

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.

Previous editions of the conference have been held in:

  • 2016 Jaume I University of Castellón, Spain
  • 2015 SKEMA Business School, Sophia Antipolis, France
  • 2014 Tianjin University, Tianjin, China
  • 2013 Reykjavik University, Island
  • 2012 University of Pantheon-Assas Paris II, Paris, France
  • 2011 Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy
  • 2010 University of Eastern Piedmont, Alessandria, Italy
  • 2009 Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • 2008 Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland
  • 2007 Fairfax, USA
  • 2006 Bologna, Italy
  • 2005 Essex, United Kingdom
  • 2004 Kyoto, Japan
  • 2003 Kiel University, Kiel, Germany