EF45 – Multi-Agent Social Systems



An Agent-Based Understanding of Green Growth

Project Heads

Sarah Wolf

Project Members

Aida Saraí Figueroa Alvarez

Project Duration

01.07.2021 – 30.06.2024

Located at

FU Berlin


This project aims to contribute to a theory of Green Growth transitions, that is, make explicit mechanisms through which an economy can switch to a low carbon structure that at the same time comes with benefits in economic and social dimensions. To this end, we develop and analyse a series of agent-based models (ABM) which extend a standard economic model, the Ramsey growth model. In order to obtain mathematically understandable ABM, this is done in a step by step process. A further aim is to investigate how far such models can be formulated as iterated games on networks and/or Markov processes and what can be gained by doing so.

The project’s models build on previous work by Steudle et al. [2018], who add three economic mechanisms to a strongly simplified Ramsey growth model structure: technical progress through learning-by-doing, directed technical progress for a brown and a green capital stock, and a labour market with search. Focusing on two time steps, the authors provide a proof of concept of how with these three building blocks a coordination game structure arises: agents can coordinate on a better “green” equilibrium rather than staying in the given “brown” one with lower investment, lower growth, and higher unemployment. The present project aims to investigate these mechanisms further, e.g., by adding a dynamic component that shall enable the study of transitions between such equilibria.

As a first model, the Agent-based Ramsey growth model with endogenous technical progress (ABRam-T, [Figueroa Alvarez et al., 2024]) has been developed and analysed. Its agents follow standard economic characteristics and rules as defined by a Ramsey growth model, but differ in terms of the investment strategy they use; in particular, in addition to a single rational representative agent and a decentralized economy of agents that ignore their contribution to technical progress, “collaborative” agents mimic the representative benevolent planner, and “witty agents” take into account their contribution to technical progress, forming expectations on how other agents invest. Exploration of economies populated by such agents yields that standard economic results can be reproduced in systems of homogeneous agents, that unequal capital distributions may converge to equal ones with higher growth, that taking into account one’s contribution to technical progress does not qualitatively change the picture, and that the economic performance of a system does not depend on how well agents’ expectations match the true values of investment of others [Figueroa Alvarez and Wolf, 2024]. Current work extends this model to the case of two capital stocks, “brown” and “green” with high, respectively, low emissions, to investigate different pathways for emission reductions.



G.A. Steudle, S. Wolf, J. Mielke, and C. Jaeger. Green growth mechanics: The building blocks. Global Climate Forum, January 2018. Available at https://globalclimateforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/GCF_WorkingPaper1-2018.pdf


Project Webpages

Selected Publications

A.S. Figueroa Alvarez and S.Wolf. Exploring heterogeneity and expectations in technical progress – an exercise in agentization. Submitted, 2024. A working paper version can be found at https://zenodo.org/records/10654996.

A.S. Figueroa Alvarez, M. Tokpanova, and S. Wolf. Agent-based Ramsey growth model with endogenous technical progress (ABRam-T) (version 1.0.0). Available at https://www.comses.net/codebases/0d2d9f03-e579-4d59-bd9a-35be1439f8ed/releases/1.0.0/, 2024.

Selected Pictures

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