Interaction and Infection

The spreading of viruses in a population depends not only on biological factors and the availability of effective pharmaceutical products, but also on human behaviour. Since in the case of CoViD-19, there are currently no pharmaceutical measures available, the discussion focuses on non-pharmaceutical measures such as social distancing and quarantines. However, whether and to what extent these measures achieve the desired effects, does not only depend on medical parameters but also on human behaviour: A sufficient number of individuals need to change their social behaviour to successfully contain the spreading of CoViD-19. We offer an interactive computer simulation that allows us to compare different policy measures and social rules such as social distancing and quarantine in terms of their potential for virus containment. In Klein, Marx, Mayerhoffer and Sirsch 2020, we describe the basic structure as well as some implications of a simulation designed to model the effectiveness of different measures to contain the spreading of viruses like CoViD-19. 

New Article on Rational Choice and Asymmetric Learning

We just submitted a new article on Rational Choice and Asymmetric Learning in Iterated Social Interactions. Some Lessons from Agent-Based Modeling. The article will appear in an edites volume with the title Democracy and Choice, edited by Karl Marker, Annette Schmitt and Jürgen Sirsch.

Klein, D., Marx, J., & Scheller, S. (2019). Rational Choice and Asymmetric Learning in Iterated Social Interactions–Some Lessons from Agent-Based Modeling. In K. Marker, A. Schmitt, and J. Sirsch (eds.), Demokratie und Entscheidung (pp. 277-294). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

This volume is a festschrift for Prof. Ruth Zimmerling. You can download a pre-print of this article here.

Just published: Generalized Trust in the Mirror. HSR. Vol. 43:1. pp. 234-258, by Dominik Klein and Johannes Marx

Our paper on the dynamics of social trust is now online. Abstract: High levels of trust have been linked to a variety of benefits including the well-functioning of markets and political institutions or the ability of societies to solve public goods problems endogenously. While there is extensive literature on the macro-level determinants of trust, the micro-level processes underlying the emergence and stability of trust are not yet sufficiently understood. We address this lacuna by means of a computer model. In this paper, conditions under which trust is likely to emerge and be sustained are identified. We focus our analysis mainly on the individual characteristics of agents: their social or geographical mobility, their attitude towards others or their general uncertainty about the environment. Contrary to predictions from previous literature, we show that immobile agents are detrimental to both, the emergence and robustness of trust. Additionally, we identify a hidden link between trusting others and being trustworthy. (pdf)

Free Access to Editorial of our Special Issue on Agent-Based Modeling in Social Science, History, and Philosophy

In this editorial, we aim to provide an overview of the different modeling approaches in current use. Our discussion unfolds in two parts: we first classify different aspects of the model-building process and identify a number of characteristics shared by most agent-based models in the humanities and social sciences; then we map relevant differences between the various modeling approaches. We classify these into different dimensions including the type of target systems addressed, the intended modeling goals, and the models’ degree of abstraction. Along the way, we provide reference to related debates in contemporary philosophy of science.

Here you can download the editorial to our special issue on agent-based modeling in social science, history and philosophy edited by Dominik Klein, Johannes Marx and Kai Fischbach. (pdf-file)


New Publication in Synthese

Our paper on Rationality and Inequality was just accepted by Synthese.

Abstract: The emergence of economic inequality has often been linked to individual differences in mental or physical capacities. By means of an agent-based simulation this paper shows that neither of these is a necessary condition. Rather, inequality can arise from iterated interactions of fully rational agents. This bears consequences for our understanding of both inequality and rationality. In a setting of iterated bargaining games, we claim that expected utility maximizing agents perform suboptimally in comparison with other strategies. The reason for this lies in complex feedback effects between an agents’ action and the quality of beliefs used to calculate expected utility. Consequentially, we argue that the standard notion of rationality as maximizing expected utility is insufficient, even for certain standard cases of economic interaction.

A view-only version of our paper is accessable by using the following link: .

You can find more information on my research and a pre-print version of the submitted article here.

New Publication in PVS

Our Paper on  the epistemic dynamics preceding the emergence of mass movements is just published by the Politische Vierteljahreschrift. By means of an agent-based simulation, we study the informational processes generating those shared attitudes towards a political system that are necessary for mass movements. We show that societies of lower mobility will structurally underestimate the potential for political change. Moreover, we find systematic differences in attitudes between critics and supporters of a regime. A side-effect of the emergent informational dynamics is that system critics will, over time, develop higher estimates of the potential for change than their less discontent peers.

Here, you find a post-script file of this article.