Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Working Paper Number

WP #10023, July 2010 revised June 2011


This study provides a basic introduction to agent-based modeling (ABM) as a powerful blend of classical and constructive mathematics, with a primary focus on its applicability for social science research. The typical goals of ABM social science researchers are discussed along with the culture-dish nature of their computer experiments. The applicability of ABM for science more generally is also considered, with special attention to physics. Finally, two distinct types of ABM applications are summarized in order to illustrate concretely the duality of ABM: Real-world systems can not only be simulated with verisimilitude using ABM; they can also be efficiently and robustly designed and constructed on the basis of ABM principles.

Publication Status

Published in Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology, Ch. 11, John Bryan Davis and D. Wade Hands (eds.), Edward Elgar Publishers, New York, NY, (2011): 228-258.

JEL Classification

B4, C6, C9, D, E

File Format



29 pages

File Function

Latest revision: 29 June 2011 (Original version: July 2010)

Included in

Economics Commons