Call for Papers: 1st ABM Workshop

May 20th-21st 2016 at ESCP Europe in Berlin

Agent-based modelling in Ecological Economics – A useful tool or just a fancy gadget?


Agent-based models (ABM) have acquired a place among other modelling tools in economics, but not an uncontested one. For some it is a useful tool to depict heterogeneous agents and their bounded rational decisions. For others it is a bunch of ad hoc descriptions, the results of which cannot be generalized.

When founded in the late 1980s, Ecological Economics has been among the first branches of economics to criticize the standard assumption of perfect rationality and full information. Faced with a complex natural system it became all too obvious that optimization models for emissions or the exploitation of natural resources draw an over-optimistic picture of the role of the economy within nature. Ecological Economics pointed out our lack of understanding for nature´s complexity. ABM could be a tool to depict the limitations of our knowledge as well as a more complex ecosystem. They could help analyzing the consequences of non-optimal behavior, of learning, and of belated understanding of necessary adaptions. Some Ecological Economists took up the challenge and developed ABM on resource exploitation, land use, water conflicts or climate change. But the method is still not widespread.

The workshop shall investigate the potential of ABM for Ecological Economics. Are they worth investing in and learn how to program? Are the results helpful or just ad hoc outcomes of toy models? Can ABM be useful in the context of Ecological Economics or are they unsuitable to portray the link to nature?

We would like to discuss these and further questions with you in a workshop format with high-profile keynote talks, oral presentations with discussants, and time for debate. We explicitly encourage PhD students as well as advanced scientists to apply.



Applicants are invited to submit abstracts of 300 to 500 words by April 1st 2016 via email to together with the application form.

Active participation is required by agreeing to serve as a discussant for another paper.


Important Dates:

April 1st 2016      Deadline for submission of abstracts and application forms

April 6th 2016      Notification of acceptance

April 10th 2016    Deadline for registration

May 8th 2016      Full paper due

May 20th              1st ABM Workshop (approx. 9.30 am – 6.30 pm each day)


Please feel free to spread the Call for Papers within your network!



We are happy to welcome three keynotes to the workshop with the following topics confirmed:


Prof. Dr. Frank Beckenbach (University of Kassel):

“Agent based modelling as a useful tool”  


Prof. Dr. Ulrich Witt (University of Jena):

“Agent-based modeling and the criteria of scientific explanation – a critical assessment” 


Claudius Gräbner (University of Bremen):

“Computations, Mechanisms, and Socio-Ecological Systems: A theoretical appraisal of ABM” 


About the Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Dr. Frank Beckenbach

is a Professor of Environmental and Behavioural Economics at University of Kassel. His research interests cover the enhancement of the economic concept of action by integrating Cognitive sciences, Multi-agent modelling of ecological and economic inter-dependencies, as well as Evolutionary Microeconomics.


Prof. Dr. Ulrich Witt 

is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith Business School in Australia and Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Jena. He is former director of the Evolutionary Economics Group at the Max Planck Institute of Economics which he founded in 1995 after joining the Max Planck Society. His research interests are in the conceptual basis of an evolutionary approach which he applies in several fields of economics, focusing on historical transformations and endogenous changes that occur. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Bioeconomics.


Claudius Gräbner

is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Institutional and Innovation Economics, University of Bremen (Prof. Dr. Wolfram Elsner). His research interests are Complexity Economics, Development, Poverty, Networks, Methodological and Technical foundations of Agent-Based Modeling and Simulation, Applied Economic Modeling and Policy Design.




A preliminary workshop schedule will be available shortly at this place.


The workshop will take place at ESCP Europe Business School conveniently located in

Berlin-Charlottenburg/City West. Public transportation is provided via frequent S-Bahn (Station Westend) and Bus connections (Station Schlosspark-Klinik).

Berlin is a city with a strong cosmopolitan and international character, due to a population of approx. 3.5 Mio. which originates from over 180 countries. It fascinates by the remains of an eventful and moving history, which are visible all around the city. Dense urbanity and a wide variety of recreational activities can be found side by side in Berlin.

Berlin is easy accessible from all over Europe via all kinds of transport. Find your connection via, or We encourage travelling to the workshop by train or bus. If you need to fly, the city has two airports nearby.



In order to register for the conference after acceptance please complete and submit the following application form (available shortly) via email to by April 10th 2016.

The participation fee of €40, covering all meals and materials, becomes due upon registration. Transfer details will be given.

For any assistance or help regarding the workshop participation do not hesitate to contact our Coordination office via email to