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The Empirical Validation of an Agent-based Model

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The aim of this paper is to empirically validate the agent-based macroeconomic model of Gaffeo et al. [2008]. We show that the microsimulated version of the model is able to replicate actual data with a satisfactory degree of precision. From a theoretical point of view, our validation approach is made up of three different steps: a calibrated microsimulation of the model with actual data, an ex-post descriptive validation of the results, and a simple calibration exercise to ameliorate the goodness-of-fit of the model. The validation procedure of this paper has been performed using Italian data.

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  1. 1.

    In the following BAM is specifically referred to the model of Gaffeo et al. [2008].

  2. 2.

  3. 3.

    Further developments of the model are available in Delli Gatti et al. [2011].

  4. 4.

    This is why we have omitted that part in our summary of the BAM model.

  5. 5.

    If not explicitly stated, all the values we have used in simulations are the same of Gaffeo et al. [2008] and Delli Gatti et al. [2008].

  6. 6.

    Calibration allows to ameliorate the distributional fitting by 4 percent on average. We want to stress that, even without calibration, the BAM model surprisingly obtains very good results in the validation procedure.

  7. 7.

    This value is arbitrary, as usual when defining an acceptance region. All the results for deviations of ±2 percent, ±5 percent, ±20 percent are available upon request to the corresponding author.

  8. 8.

    As in Ijiri and Simon [1977], the use of pooled distributions is possible since the yearly distributions show similar slopes.

  9. 9.

    As usual, the results for the other years available upon request.


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The authors are grateful to the editor and to an anonymous referee for their invaluable suggestions, which have clearly ameliorated the readability and the relevance of this work.

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Cirillo, P., Gallegati, M. The Empirical Validation of an Agent-based Model. Eastern Econ J 38, 525–547 (2012).

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  • validation
  • calibration
  • agent-based models
  • goodness-of-fit
  • micro-simulation

JEL Classifications

  • H3
  • C63