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)
Our special issue in Historical Social Research on Agent-based Modeling in Social Science, History, and Philosphy has just been released. Many thanks to my Co-Editors Dominik Klein and Kai Fischbach.
Agent-based modeling has become a common and well-established tool in the social sciences and certain of the humanities. Here, 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 find the abstracts of the included articles.