Many aggregate patterns can be explained as emerging from complex systems of heterogeneous agents, in which the interaction of agents at the micro level forms the macro properties of the economic system, thereby determining the emergence of macro regularities such as economic growth, unemployment, and income distribution.
This important link between the micro and macro level of an economic system has not received sufficient attention in the economic theory, which has traditionally been split in the two domains of microeconomics and macroeconomics.
In the past, when building an economic model, large sacrifices with respect to realism had to be made in order to maintain analytical tractability.
Frequently, macroeconomic models received a “microfoundation” by assuming that the population consisted of one single representative agent (or an army of "identical clones"). While this helped to keep the models tractable, a large amount of potential investigations were ruled out by assumption.
The growth of computational power and the increased affordability of computers opened up new perspectives on the exploration of socially relevant questions.
Agent-based economics can provide solutions to problems that are difficult to study with the methodological standard toolkit of economists. Indeed, models with heterogeneous agents can replicate artificial economies populated by a vast multitude of agents whose interactions can give rise to stable and predictable, as well as highly volatile, aggregate configurations at the macro level.
Such methodology allows for the presence of feedbacks among agents and the economic environment in which they interact, such as the emergence of credit networks with possible contagion effects, the endogenous appearance of boom and bust cycles, as well as the emerging distributions on the firm and household level.
The Workshop on Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents (WEHIA) is the annual conference of the Society for Economic Studies with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents.
WEHIA 2023 represents a unique opportunity to present discuss the latest research on various aspects of the economy as a complex system made up of heterogeneous interacting agents. WEHIA brings together scholars from different parts of the world to present and discuss the latest research from different domains - economics, psychology, sociology, environment, computer sciences, engineering, physics - that can prove useful in developing new insightful approaches to key issues such as the origin, development and mitigation of financial crises, unemployment and poverty, income and wealth inequality, the outbreak of epidemics, the outbreak of social unrest, the emergence of polarization in society, climate change and many others.