Empirical Foundations for Agent-Based Modeling: How Do Institutions Affect Agents' Land-Use Decision Processes in Indiana?
Proceedings of the Agent 2002 Conference on Social Agent: Ecology, Exchange, and Evolution
22 Pages Posted: 8 May 2017
Date Written: October 11-12, 2002
The use of agent-based modeling (ABM) has recently been extended to the study of natural resource management and land-use and land-cover change. Many ABM applications have been at a conceptual and abstract level, which helps scholars to recognize how macro patterns can emerge from simple rules followed by agents at a micron level. ABM has greater potential than many other approaches to capture the dynamic relationships between social and ecological systems. This paper contributes to a larger effort to explore how individual decision making by heterogeneous set of land owners, given local biophysical conditions, led to the particular aggregate pattern of land-cover change in Indiana, with an emphasis on forest-cover change. In our preliminary effort, we created a model structure that allowed examination of the institutional impact of government programs on individual land-use decisions. Our model is based on the concept that initial condition endow an agent with a particular set of beliefs and desires that could lead to any number of intentions, actions, and outcomes. Institutions have the potential to intervene in an agent's decision-making process and alter its beliefs and desires by providing information and incentives. The next crucial step in our effort will be to extend this model to study the impact of other political institutions, such as taxation and zoning, as well as utilize the conceptual model to facilitate implementation of institutions in the agent-based models.
Keywords: agent-based model; institution; Indiana; land-use and land-cover change
JEL Classification: B52, C59
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation