Purpose – The term “agent-based modelling” (ABM) is a buzzword which is widely used in the scientific literature even though it refers to a variety of methodologies implemented in different disciplinary contexts. The numerous works dealing with ABM require a clarification to better understand the lines of thinking paved by this approach in economics. All modelling tasks are a means and a source of knowledge, and this epistemic function can vary depending on the methodology. this paper is to present four major ways (deductive, abductive, metaphorical and phenomenological) of implementing an agent-based framework to describe economic systems. ABM generates numerous debates in economics and opens the room for epistemological questions about the micro-foundations of macroeconomics; before dealing with this issue, the purpose of this paper is to identify the kind of ABM the author can find in economics.
Design/methodology/approach – The profusion of works dealing with ABM requires a clarification to understand better the lines of thinking paved by this approach in economics. This paper offers a conceptual classification outlining the major trends of ABM in economics.
Findings – There are four categories of ABM in economics.
Originality/value – This paper suggests a methodological categorization of ABM works in economics.