Studying population dynamics from the bottom-up: the crucial role of agent-based computational demography

Francesco C. Billari, Università Bocconi

In this paper we argue that Agent-Based Computational Demography (ABCD) from now onwards has an important role in understanding demographic behaviour. More specifically, we argue that modelling population processes “from the bottom up”, although historically neglected within the hardcore of demography, provides an opportunity to exploit interdisciplinary links that characterize the study of demographic behaviour. Moreover, ABCD helps in discussing micro-micro link, the emergence and/or persistence of population-level phenomena such as norms. We then discuss types of demographic behaviours for which the use of ABCD may be particularly fruitful, also reviewing the relevant literature. These include family demography (and in particular union formation), population epidemiology (and in particular the spread of epidemics such as HIV), migration and spatial mobility, and intergenerational transmission and evolutionary demography.

  See paper

Presented in Session 48: Demographic theory: new approaches