Rational Models of Sapience
“Think how hard physics would be if particles could think.”– Nobel Prize winning Particle Physicist, Murray Gell-Mann
All economics models make explicit or implicit assumptions about human behavior. Depending on the model, the assumptions involved could range from reasonable to absurd. Nevertheless such assumptions are often necessary for analytical tractability. The persistent use of a standard set of simplifying assumptions by economists led to the facetious creation of a widely-known species that exists only in models: Homo Economicus. While it may have indeed been rational to model economic actors as the caricatured Homo Economicus several decades ago, advances in math and computing power have enabled economists to gradually revise those assumptions to make them more realistic in terms of capturing actual human behavior. In this talk we will explore how simulation modeling has allowed Homo Economicus to gradually evolve into a creature more closely resembling Homo Sapiens.
About the Speaker
The featured speaker, Prof. Gouri Suresh teaches courses in macroeconomics, computational economics, and international trade and migration. Raised in India, he came to the U.S. for college and subsequently worked for Deloitte Tax before beginning his career as an economics professor. His research agenda is broad – his publications have covered a wide range of topics that include macroeconomics methodology, partisan opinion dynamics, and empirical open economy macroeconomics. His current works include an analysis of poverty traps in developing countries, an examination of the effect of income segregation on food access in the United States, and an exploration of the game theoretic foundations of ethical reasoning. He loves to foster critical thinking in the classroom and is the host of Econversations – a weekly informal discussion forum that takes a deep dive into economics-related topics.