Social Simulation Models and Reality: Three Approaches
CPM Report No.: 98-35 By: Scott Moss Date: May 1998
Theories in the social sciences are informed either by sociology or by
economics. That is, they either draw generalizations from verbal descriptions
of social interaction or from mathematical representations of interacting
agents as constrained maximizers. The three models discussed in this paper
are not less rigorous than economic models and, because they are validated
relative to a formal logic rather than mathematics alone, capture much
more of the richness of sociological analysis than does the economics approach.
Moreover, each has, in its own way, been developed to capture salient characteristics
of observed regularities in specific social interactions. Together they
exemplify a set of modelling techniques and an integrated methodology which
capture the rigour and precision of the economist's approach to the social
sciences while, at the same time, capturing the suggestiveness and richness
of the sociologist's approach.