Introduction: Agent-Based Computational Demography

  • Francesco C. Billari
  • Fausta Ongaro
  • Alexia Prskawetz
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


Originating from developments in computer science (also applied to natural sciences), a computational approach to the study of human behavior has developed that has gathered impetus in the literature during the 1990s. Agent-based computational models have become more and more used in the social sciences (i.e. in economics with the idea of Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE), and in sociology with the idea of Social Simulation). Different to the approach based on statistical analysis of behavioral data that aims to understand why specific rules are applied by humans, agent-based computational models presuppose (realistic) rules of behavior and try to challenge the validity of these rules by showing whether they can or cannot explain macroscopic regularities. In this introductory chapter, we argue that in order to study human populations, agent-based approaches are particularly useful from various theoretical perspectives. We urge demographers and other scholars interested in population studies to look at Agent-Based Computational Demography (ABCD) as a promising stream of research, which can improve our understanding of demographic behavior. We review and use the chapters of this book to substantiate our argumentations.


Partnership Formation Primate Society Family Demography Artificial Society Vacant Dwelling 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco C. Billari
    • 1
  • Fausta Ongaro
    • 2
  • Alexia Prskawetz
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Quantitative MethodsBocconi UniversityMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Statistical SciencesUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for Demographic ResearchRostockGermany

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