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computational economics

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Computational economics is a field of economic study at the intersection of computer science, economics and management science. The main focus of is the integration of information (IT) into economics and the automation of formerly manual processes.

Computational economics uses advanced computing to solve problems from all branches of economic study. Both empirical and theoretical economics can use computational economics.

Areas of study within the field of computational economics include:

  • Agent-based computational modeling.
  • Computational econometrics and statistics.
  • Computational finance.
  • Computational modeling of dynamic macroeconomic systems.
  • Computational tools for the design of automated internet markets.
  • Programming tools for computational economics.

Computers are used to model solutions to analytically- and statistically-formulated economic problems. Computational economics can solve problems and simulate models involving calculations that are too complex or numerous to be performed by humans in a timely manner. Agent-based computer modeling, for example, might use agents (computer-defined object models) to represent groups, or even individuals in an entire economy in a social simulation.

Any branch of economic study may use modeling through computers, thereby entering the field of computational economics. As a relatively new field of study, the definition of computational economics remains somewhat plastic. As the field matures, many believe that computational economics will become reintegrated into the greater field of economics and its applications expanded.

Integration of IT and increasing automation is a pervasive and multi-discipline trend in fields including computational linguistics, computational law, computational healthcare and computational design.

This was last updated in August 2017

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