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Empirically Based, Agent-based models

Marco A Janssen, Arizona State University
Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University and Arizona State University


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There is an increasing drive to combine agent-based models with empirical methods. An overview is provided of the various empirical methods that are used for different kinds of questions. Four categories of empirical approaches are identified in which agent-based models have been empirically tested: case studies, stylized facts, role-playing games, and laboratory experiments. We discuss how these different types of empirical studies can be combined. The various ways empirical techniques are used illustrate the main challenges of contemporary social sciences: (1) how to develop models that are generalizable and still applicable in specific cases, and (2) how to scale up the processes of interactions of a few agents to interactions among many agents.

Key words

Agent-based models; empirical applications; social science methods
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087