More Is Different … and Complex!: The Case for Agent-Based Macroeconomics

37 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2019

See all articles by Giovanni Dosi

Giovanni Dosi

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM)

Andrea Roventini

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM); Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE)

Date Written: January 3, 2019

Abstract

This work nests the Agent-Based macroeconomic perspective into the earlier history of macroeconomics. We discuss how the discipline in the 70’s took a perverse path relying on models grounded on fictitious rational representative agent in order to try to pathetically circumvent aggregation and coordination problems. The Great Recession was a natural experiment for macroeconomics, showing the inadequacy of the predominant theoretical framework grounded on DSGE models. After discussing the pathological fallacies of the DSGE-based approach, we claim that macroeconomics should consider the economy as a complex evolving system, i.e. as an ecology populated by heterogenous agents, whose far-from-equilibrium interactions continuously change the structure of the system. This in turn implies that more is different: macroeconomics cannot be shrink to representative-agent micro, but agents’ complex interactions lead to emergence of new phenomena and hierarchical structure at the macro level. This is what is taken into account by agent-based models, which provide a novel way to model complex economies from the bottom-up, with sound empirically-based micro-foundations. We present the foundations of Agent-Based macroeconomics and we discuss how the contributions of this special issue push its frontier forward. Finally, we conclude by discussing the ways ahead for the fully acknowledgement of agent-based models as the standard way of theorizing in macroeconomics.

Keywords: Macroeconomics, Economic Policy, Keynesian Theory, New Neoclassical Synthesis, New Keynesian Models, DSGE Models, Agent-Based Evolutionary Models, Complexity Theory, Great Recession, Crisis

JEL Classification: B41, B50, E32, E5

Suggested Citation

Dosi, Giovanni and Roventini, Andrea, More Is Different … and Complex!: The Case for Agent-Based Macroeconomics (January 3, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3309603 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3309603

Giovanni Dosi (Contact Author)

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM) ( email )

Piazza Martiri della Liberta, 33
Pisa, I-56127
Italy

HOME PAGE: www.lem.sssup.it

Andrea Roventini

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM) ( email )

Piazza Martiri della Liberta', 33-I-56127
Pisa
Italy

Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE)

69 Quai d'Orsay
Paris 75004
France

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