Aims and scope
The aim of the conference is to gather scholars using a complex evolving system approach in economics.
Research in economics has historically been inspired by the methodological individualism paradigm. A good example in this respect is the problem of "microfoundations" in macroeconomics. Every relation we observe at the macro level (e.g. when the whole economy is considered) should be derived from principles describing the behavior of individuals (e.g. firms or consumers) at the microeconomic level. The solution to this important problem has been dominated by the adoption of the "representative agent" paradigm. According to such reductionist approach, the heterogenous behaviors one finds across micro-actors (and their interactions in markets and society) can be reduced to the analysis of a representative agent. This approach leaves out of the picture too many features which are instead relevant to give proper explanations of economic and social phenomena and also to derive sound policies. It is not just a issue of how detailed the "map" analyzing a given economic or social "territory" should be. Much alike the physics of interacting particles, many relevant collective phenomena in economics and other social social sciences cannot be directly derived from first principles describing the behavior of single individuals at the micro-level.
The "complex evolving system" paradigm overcomes the limitations of the representative agent approach, by modeing the economic environment as a system where many key agents' characteristic such as heterogeneity, local interactions and imperfect learning are taken into account. In addition, in this paradigm, macro phenomena of any kind are "emergent properties", i.e. properties which bear no direct relation with the behavior of single micro-actors.
The complex-system approach has already provided key insights for the understanding of problems facing the world economy, such as the emergence and dynamics of financial and economic crises, the analysis of systemic risk, segregation, unemployment and poverty, climate change and transition to more sustainable economies. For the 20th anniversay of the WEHIA we also aim to open the debate about the above achievements as well as about the limitations of the complex system approach in economics and the challenges ahead.
Workshop topics cover research in all areas benefitting by models of interacting agents. Contributions with empirical applications are also appreciated. The topics include, but are not limited to: