The economic entomologist

An interview with Alan Kirman


  • Alan Kirman Université d'Aix-Marseille III and GREQAM, France



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.

Author Biography

Alan Kirman, Université d'Aix-Marseille III and GREQAM, France

Alan P. Kirman (London, 1939) is professor emeritus at l’Université d’Aix-Marseille III and researcher at GREQAM (Groupe de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d’Aix-Marseille). He has published over a hundred academic articles and edited and authored many books including noted monographs on general equilibrium analysis (Hildenbrand and Kirman 1976; 1988) and most recently Complex economics: individual and collective rationality (Kirman 2011, reviewed in this issue of the Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics).




How to Cite

Kirman, A. (2011). The economic entomologist: An interview with Alan Kirman. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 4(2), 42–66.