Interest in agent-based models of financial markets and the wider economy has increased consistently over the last few decades, in no small part due to their ability to reproduce a number of empirically-observed stylised facts that are not easily recovered by more traditional modelling approaches. Nevertheless, the agent-based modelling paradigm faces mounting criticism, focused particularly on the rigour of current validation and calibration practices, most of which remain qualitative and stylised fact-driven. While the literature on quantitative and data-driven approaches has seen significant expansion in recent years, most studies have focused on the introduction of new calibration methods that are neither benchmarked against existing alternatives nor rigorously tested in terms of the quality of the estimates they produce. We therefore compare a number of prominent ABM calibration methods, both established and novel, through a series of computational experiments in an attempt to determine the respective strengths and weaknesses of each approach and the overall quality of the resultant parameter estimates. We find that Bayesian estimation, though less popular in the literature, consistently outperforms frequentist, objective function-based approaches and results in reasonable parameter estimates in many contexts. Despite this, we also find that agent-based model calibration techniques require further development in order to definitively calibrate large-scale models. We therefore make suggestions for future research.
Platt, D. (2019). 'A Comparison of Economic Agent-Based Model Calibration Methods'. Working Paper, arXiv:1902.05938v1