computational_models - Computational Models Micah Altman...

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Computational Models Micah Altman, Senior Research Scientist Institute of Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University Version: Oct 3, 2006 In political economy, computational models are used to simulate the behavior of institutions or individuals. Researchers use these models to explore emergent patterns in the behavior of individuals and institutions over time. Computational models are used as a complement to mathematical models –and as a form of independent theory construction in their own right. (This distinguishes computational models from statistical computation for data analysis: Although statistical models may involve simulation of mathematical functions, they use simulation in order to approximate known statistical models that are difficult or impossible to analyze analytically.) While some scholars used computers to model political behavior in the early 1960’s many of the fundamental ideas now used in computational political economy did not appear until much later. (For a surveys of early and more recent work see Johnson, 1999; and Taber and Timpone, 1996.), In particular, Schelling’s (1978) pioneering work, Micromotives and Macro Behavior , which created micro-simulations of individual without computers, showed dramatically how complex and unexpected patterns of
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computational_models - Computational Models Micah Altman...

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