October 23, 2:00 p.m.
92 Research Hall
Fairfax Campus

The Role of Political Institutions in Country Prosperity: Agent-Based Models

Elaine Reed, Ph.D. Student
Computational Social Science
Department of Computational and Data Sciences

ABSTRACT: A growing body of research is finding that the way a society organizes itself politically and economically, impacts its economic performance. In particular, Acemoglu, Naidu, Restrepo and Robinson provided evidence that democratic institutions cause growth (Acemoglu et. al 2014). Other research has shown that high levels of economic and political competition lead to states that can provide security of self and property resulting in political stability and economic growth (Dumas & Urpelainen, 2014). In the past, productivity and economic growth were predominantly viewed as merely an aggregate metric of an economy. More recently, productivity and economic growth are seen increasingly as emergent characteristics driven by the behavior of individuals interacting in the complex political and social environment (Harper & Endres, 2012).

In this dissertation, I propose to develop an agent based model to verify current economic research that “inclusive institutions” as indicated by political power distributed to broad groups of people (e.g., democracy) will lead to economic growth. The model will investigate how components of political and economic institutions affect individual incentives and rent-seeking opportunities represented in the individual payoffs of their resource allocations to leisure or productive or rent seeking work. Economic aggregates will consider team production influences that apply when the total output is more than the independent contributions of individuals.