Computational Agents, Design and Innovative Behaviour: Hetero Economicus

Timon Scheuer


For too long, a majority of economic stories speak of perfectly informed, fully rational optimisation within a purely materialistic world – leaving a lack of evidence and explanation regarding human decision makers and entrepreneurs revolutionising the decision space. Strands like game theory and institutional economics have already adopted a more practical view. Evolutionary and behavioural economics were finally able to establish the necessary links to other disciplines – like psychology and informational science. This paper recaps selected parts of the literature that favour a conceptional view of computational agents. Firstly, we invite economic modellers to question the microfoundation of their assumptions with regard to the individual or to an aggregate level of human behaviour that they truly refer to. Secondly, we illustrate the potential, as well as the limitations, that computational agents exhibit – with regard to the incorporation of creativity as the main source of innovative behaviour. Thirdly, this rather superficial collection of ideas serves as a position paper for future approaches.

Published on 28th November, 2018, in Economic Thought Vol 7, No 2, 2018