The economic entomologist
An interview with Alan Kirman
Keywords:Alan Kirman, interview, complexity, economics, neoclassical, crisis, networks, heterodox economics
The Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Professor Kirman when he visited the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE) in late November 2010 to present a paper on the state of macroeconomics.
In this interview, Professor Kirman discusses his understanding of the relationship between individual behaviour and aggregate patterns, why it is essential to consider the interactions between agents, and what the study of ant’s behaviour can teach us about collective human actions. He explains the core concepts of his ‘interactionist’ approach, including microfoundations, rationality and emergence, and reflects on the potential of agent-based modelling, the limitations of game theory, the possibility of aggregate-level analysis, and the relevance of behavioural studies. The interview also ranges more widely, discussing the different goals of economics (for instance, explaining, predicting, and controlling), the role of mathematics in modern economics, and the state of macroeconomics.