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MIT System Dynamics Seminar | Dynamics of American Firms: Data and a Family of Models

February 25, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EST

Hybrid Hybrid Event

Please visit the MIT System Dynamics Seminars page for more information.

You are invited to attend the System Dynamics Seminar being held this Friday, February 25th from 1:00-2:30 pm ET in the Jay W. Forrester conference room, E62-450, or via Zoom: (Password: SDSpr22). Our guest speaker will be Robert Axtell (George Mason University) presenting Dynamics of American Firms: Data and a Family of Models (see abstract and brief bio below). A reminder will be sent out closer to the date.

Please check here for the latest updates on MIT’s indoor eating and drinking policies:

Abstract: Using data on the population of all American firms having employees over the last 40 years, several dozen gross empirical regularities, uncovered with statistical and machine learning techniques, will be described. These have to do with firm sizes, ages, growth rates, productivities, financial attributes, inter-firm networks, and spatial locations and involve 100s of millions of workers and 10s of millions of firms. A family of models based on a team production specification will be shown to be capable of reproducing many of these patterns. The equilibria and stability of the model are characterized. Computational challenges associated with rending this model at full-scale with the U.S. economy—in any period, 120 million worker agents self-organized into 6 million emergent firms—will be discussed. This talk is based on a forthcoming book.

Rob Axtell is Professor of Computational Social Science at George Mason University, Co-Director of the Computational Public Policy Lab at the Schar School of Policy and Government at Mason, and an affiliate of the Department of Economics there. His research focuses on the application of computational modeling and simulation techniques to economics and finance. He is External Faculty Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and Visiting Researcher at Google. He is currently on sabbatical at MIT Sloan.

Professor Axtell is the author, with Joshua Epstein, of Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up (MIT Press). His research has appeared in Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as in leading field-specific journals such as The American Economic Review, and has been reprised in newspapers (e.g., Wall St. Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post) and science magazines (e.g., Scientific American, Technology Review, Wired). For the past decade he has been using micro-data on individuals to build large-scale models of the Financial Crisis of 2008-9 (with JD Farmer, Oxford, and J Geanakoplos, Yale), the dynamics of business firms (with O Guerrero, Turing Institute), and natural resource exploitation, e.g., fisheries (with UC Santa Barbara, Oxford, and the Ocean Conservancy). The research on companies is described at length in a forthcoming book, Dynamics of Firms from the Bottom Up Data, Theories, and Models, due out later this year, which uses U.S. micro-data on firm sizes, ages, growth rates, networks, and locations to create a model at 1:1 scale with the American economy.



February 25, 2022
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EST
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MIT Jay W. Forrester Conference Room
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
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