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  • Engineering and Methodological Aspects of Boxed Economy Frameworks: Frameworks for Agent-Based Economic Simulations
    T. Iba, Y. Takabe, M. Hirokane, H. Takenaka , Y. Takefuji, FIF Working Paper, No.2, Fujita Institute of Future Management Research, Feb. 2000 (submit), Dec. 2000 (publication)

    Abstract
    In this paper, we would like to discuss about "{\sf Boxed Economy Frameworks}" from two different angles. One is about engineering, and the other is about methodology. Boxed Economy Frameworks are object-oriented frameworks for agent-based economic simulations which are intended to make predictions and explanations of the real economic movements. The two viewpoints we have raised are necessary for overcoming the problems of verification and validation on the simulations respectively.
          We especially suggest that the extensible design with object-oriented framework is more significant than the design simply with components or objects in the field of the economic simulations. This is because the introduction of the frameworks makes it easier for the simulation builders to build, share and co-improve the economic simulations, which will be more practical. This is based on the domain-specific fact that the structures of economic simulation models are/will be often very similar, due to that the modeled targets are almost the same, and the objectives of simulations are also the similar. We can see them in predictions of the macroeconomic trends, explanations of the past phenomena, and impact analyses of policies.
          From the view point of engineering, we propose the flexible design of Boxed Economy Frameworks, which is a set of two frameworks that help the simulation builders to share and co-improve the simulation; "Box Simulator Framework" and "Boxed Economy Model Framework". The former provides a shared platform for the simulator at the application level, and the latter is designed for agent-based economic models of the real economy. These frameworks can be the base of continual metabolism in economic models among the simulation builders.
          From the view point of methodology, we propose the comprehensive process of model building with these frameworks, which we name "Exploratory Model Building". According to this process, simulation builders would choose sub-models by exploring in all possible combinations of alternative sub-models by trial and error, before they use the simulation for predictions and analyses, Because most parts of social models are not always understood and proven in many cases. In addition, the detail of the target model is understood during the process of making and simulating the behaviors on the computer, due to the complexity of the target. In the process of Exploratory Model Building, the alternative sub-models can be compared and screened automatically to get the better total balance for the results.
          After all, the perspectives to improve the quality of Boxed Economy Frameworks as a software and an economic model are discussed.


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