Civil Agent Societies: Tools for Inventing Open Agent-Mediated Electronic Marketplaces

  • Chrysanthos Dellarocas
  • Mark Klein
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1788)


In the emerging model of 21st century electronic commerce, a variety of open agent marketplaces will be competing with one another for participants. The most successful marketplaces will be those that provide the best “quality of service” guarantees (in terms of security, fairness, efficiency, etc.), While meeting such challenges as agent heterogeneity, limited trust, and potential for systemic dysfunctions. Civil human societies provide a useful model for designing the infrastructure needed to achieve these guarantees. Successful civil human societies build on well-designed “social contracts”, i.e. agreed-upon constraints on agent behavior made in exchange for quality of service assurances backed up by social institutions. Civil Agent Societies can be defined in an analogous way. The objective of our work is to provide tools that help developers systematically explore the space of possible Civil Agent Societies, helping them invent the electronic marketplaces that work best for their intended purposes. We present a framework that captures the fundamental elements and processes of Civil Agent Societies and a methodology for designing, prototyping and evaluating a wide range of “civil” open marketplaces. We also discuss how these ideas are currently being applied to the design of open marketplaces of contract net agents, a useful abstraction of agent-mediated business-to-business e-commerce.


Civil Society Social Contract Agent Society Exception Handling Interaction Protocol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chrysanthos Dellarocas
    • 1
  • Mark Klein
    • 1
  1. 1.Sloan School of ManagementMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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