Agent-based simulation has become increasingly popular as a modeling approach in the social sciences because it enables researchers to build models where individual entities and their interactions are directly represented. The Second Edition of Nigel Gilbert's Agent-Based Models introduces this technique; considers a range of methodological and theoretical issues; shows how to design an agent-based model, with a simple example; offers some practical advice about developing, verifying and validating agent-based models; and finally discusses how to plan an agent-based modelling project, publish the results and apply agent-based modeling to formulate and evaluate social and economic policies. An accompanying simulation using NetLogo and commentary on the program can be downloaded on the book’s website:

Designing An Agent-Based Model

Over the past decade agent-based modeling has developed a more or less standardized research process, consisting of a sequence of steps, at each of which design decisions need to be made. Like most social science methods, this process is an idealization of the procedures actually carried out, and, in practice, several of the steps occur in parallel and the whole process is performed iteratively as ideas are refined and developed. Nevertheless, it is useful to have these steps made explicit as a guide to the conduct of agent-based modeling research (see also Axelrod, 1997a; Hammond 2015).

In this chapter we start by listing the steps and then we illustrate each step using an example, so that by the end of the ...

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