Macroeconomic Policy in DSGE and Agent-Based Models

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The Great Recession seems to be a natural experiment for macroeconomics showing the inadequacy of the predominant theoretical framework — the New Neoclassical Synthesis — grounded on the DSGE model.

In this paper, we present a critical discussion of the theoretical, empirical and political-economy pitfalls of the DSGE-based approach to policy analysis. We suggest that a more fruitful research avenue to pursue is to explore alternative theoretical paradigms, which can escape the strong theoretical requirements of neoclassical models (e.g., equilibrium, rationality, representative agent, etc.). We briefly introduce one of the most successful alternative research projects – known in the literature as agent-based computational economics (ACE) – and we present the way it has been applied to policy analysis issues. We then provide a survey of agent-based models addressing macroeconomic policy issues. Finally, we conclude by discussing the methodological status of ACE, as well as the (many) problems it raises.