A review of agent-based modeling of climate-energy policy

Juana Castro, Stefan Drews, Filippos Exadaktylos, Joël Foramitti, Franziska Klein, Théo Konc, Ivan Savin, Jeroen van den Bergh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Agent-based models (ABMs) have recently seen much application to the field of climate mitigation policies. They offer a more realistic description of micro behavior than traditional climate policy models by allowing for agent heterogeneity, bounded rationality and nonmarket interactions over social networks. This enables the analysis of a broader spectrum of policies. Here, we review 61 ABM studies addressing climate-energy policy aimed at emissions reduction, product and technology diffusion, and energy conservation. This covers a broad set of instruments of climate policy, ranging from carbon taxation, and emissions trading through adoption subsidies to information provision tools such as smart meters and eco-labels. Our treatment pays specific attention to behavioral assumptions and the structure of social networks. We offer suggestions for future research with ABMs to answer neglected policy questions. This article is categorized under: Climate Economics > Economics of Mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere647
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Issue number4
Early online date1 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


This study has received funding through an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement no. 741087). I.S. acknowledges financial support from the Russian Science Foundation [RSF grant number 19-18-00262].

FundersFunder number
Russell Sage Foundation
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme741087
European Research Council
Russian Science Foundation19‐18‐00262
Horizon 2020


    • agent-based models
    • bounded rationality
    • climate policy
    • other-regarding preferences
    • social interactions

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