Selected Publications

 

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Big Data and Complexity: is Macroeconomics heading towards a new paradigm?

2017, Journal of Economic Methodology

 Abstract 

The paper discusses the extent to which the availability of unprecedentedly rich datasets and the need for new approaches – both epistemological and computational – is an emerging issue for Macroeconomics. By adopting an evolutionary approach, we describe the paradigm shifts experienced in the macroeconomic research field and emphasize that the types of data the macroeconomist has to deal with play an important role in the evolutionary process of the development of the discipline. After introducing the current debate over Big Data in social sciences, the paper presents a detailed discussion of possible and existing interactions between Big Data and Computational Behavioral Macroeconomics. We argue that Big Data applied to economic questions can lead to new styles of thinking and research methods, namely to the development of a new research paradigm.


From micro behaviors to macro dynamics: an Agent-based economic model with consumer credit

2017, (co-authored with G. Giulioni), Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation

 Abstract 

The paper develops an agent-based model populated by heterogeneous consumers, a production sector and a banking sector. Taking a bottom up approach, the paper aims at providing a first tool to analyze households’ borrowing dynamics in the different phases of the business cycle by relaxing some assumptions of mainstream consumption models and considering more realistic household borrowing behaviors. Although very simple, the model allows us to grasp the main implications of the interaction between consumers’ wants (desired consumption), consumers’ beliefs (their expectations about their future income), the behavior of the banking sector (rationing) and the behavior of the production sector (forecasting future demand). After presenting and discussing sensitivity analysis over a set of parameters, the paper reports simulation results and the ex-post validation by comparing artificial and empirical distributions computed using the European Household Finance and Consumption Survey data set. 


Building artificial economies: from aggregate data to experimental microstructure. A methodological survey
2014, Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems, Springer-Verlag (co-authored).

Abstract 
This paper suggests a methodological appraisal of the main improvements witnessed by the methodology based on the interplay between Experimental Economics (EE) and Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE) in the last 5-6 years. EE and ACE proved to be “natural allies” in that they complement each other: EE helps ACE in dealing with his “degree of freedom” problem and ACE helps EE in controlling and providing benchmarks for experimental subjects’ behaviour  The paper discusses the role Evolutionary Computation plays in this bidirectional relationship.


Households Debt Behavior and Financial Instability. Towards an Agent-based model with experimentally estimated behavioral rules

2014, International Symposium on Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence, University of Salamanca (Spain) – DCAI 2014 Proceedings, Springer.

Abstract 

The present paper suggests the development of an experimentally microfounded Agent-based model in order to cope with the complexity and instability of the macroeconomic environment. The focus of the paper is on the microspecification of the ABM. For the micro level, I suggest to design an experiment in order to gain insights into house- holds’ behaviors. For the macro level, I plan to build an ABM where agents are estimated, rather than calibrated, by using data collected in the experimental laboratory.


The empirical microstructure of Agent-based models: recent trends in the interplay between ACE and Experimental Economics
2014, International Symposium on Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence, University of Salamanca (Spain) – DCAI 2014 Proceedings, Springer (co-authored).

Abstract

This paper suggests a methodological appraisal of the main improvements witnessed by the methodology based on the interplay between Experimental Economics (EE) and Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE) in the last 5-6 years. EE and ACE proved to be “natural allies” in that they complement each other: EE helps ACE in dealing with its “degree of freedom” problem and ACE helps EE in controlling and providing benchmarks for experimental subjects’ behavior. The paper discusses the role Evolutionary Computation plays in this bidirectional relationship.


Households Behaviors and Systemic Financial Instability: experimental insights and Agent-based simulations for macroeconomic policy analyses
2014, International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence – ICAART 2014 Proceedings, Springer.

Abstract 
The present paper suggests the development of an exper- imentally microfounded Agent-based model in order to cope with the complexity and instability of the macroeconomic environment. The focus of the paper is on the microspecification of the ABM. For the micro level, I suggest to design an experiment in order to gain insights into households’ behaviors. For the macro level, I plan to build an ABM where agents are estimated, rather than calibrated, by using data collected in the experimental laboratory.


Avatar-based Macroeconomics: Experimental Insights into Artificial Agents Behaviour
2014, Icaart – International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence 2014 Proceedings (co-authored)

Abstract 

In this paper we present a new methodological approach based on the interplay between Experimental Economics and Agent-based Economics. Advances in the design and implementation of individual autonomous economic agents are presented. The methodology is organized in three steps. The first step focuses on agents. We use an inductive rather than a deductive approach: by means of the experimental method we observe agents’ behaviors. The second step is the behavioral rules’ building process that allows us to study how to estimate and structure artificial agents. In the third step, the set of previously induced behavioral rules are used to build artificial agents, i.e. “molded” avatars, which operate in the “archetype” macroeconomic system. The resulting Multi-agent system serves as the macroeconomic environment for our simulations and economic policy analysis.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Experimental Economics, Artificial Economy, Agent-based Computational Economics, Multi-agent Systems


Towards a Multi-Avatar Macroeconomic System
2013,  Advances on Practical Applications of Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 97-109, Springer Berlin-Heidelberg (co-authored)

Abstract 

In this paper we provide a prototype Multi-Agent macroeconomic system where artificial agents’ behavioral rules are calibrated using human behaviors. The artificial representation of humans, i.e. “molded” avatars, derives from a two steps process. The first step consists in per- forming laboratory experiments in order to gather microeconomic data. The second relies on the use of data mining heuristic techniques on the experimental data which allow for the identification of the behavioral models that better approximate humans’ behaviors. The implementa- tion of these techniques, which we call microeconomic calibration, leads to the identification of heterogeneous agents. We maintain that the Multi- Avatar systems which arise from the heterogeneous microeconomic cal- ibrated agents give the possibility to improve the existing Agent-based models. The proposed approach will generate consequently more reliable policies evaluation tools. The model discussed in the paper is motivated by the investigation on the role of entrepreneurs’ financial decisions over the business cycle. This topic was addressed especially by Hyman Minsky since the Fifties and recently gained a new momentum in the scientific community after the onset of the financial crisis.

Keywords: Macroeconomics,ExperimentalEconomics,Agent-basedCom- putational Economics, Microeconomic Calibration, Financial Instability Hypothesis


Poster presentation at the 4th International Summer School on Keynesian Macroeconomics and European Economic Policies (2013)

(click on the image to enlarge it)

poster_PD2013_berlinWorkshop

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