The 2021 EAEPE Simon Young Scholar Prize was awarded to Patrick Mellacher for his paper titled " COVID-Town: An Integrated Economic-Epidemiological Agent-Based Model"

Patrick Mellacher

It is a great honor to receive the EAEPE Herbert Simon prize for my paper “COVID-Town: An Integrated Economic Epidemiological Agent-based model”.

“COVID-Town” is an agent-based model to explore the economic and public health impact of the Covid-19 crisis under varying policy scenarios. The model consists of an artificial economy, which is populated by agents who differ with regard to their social class, employment, family status, leisure preferences and connections in a social network. These agents work, consume, rest and spend their leisure time according to routines that depend on the time and day of the week. This agent heterogeneity is empirically micro-founded using many sources such as time use data, demography, employment statistics etc.

A characteristic feature of my model is that it explores relationships and trade-offs that are largely ignored by other models. For instance, in my model, if schools are closed, this greatly helps to curb the transmission of the virus, but it also affects families with little children, as family members have to stand in as care givers. Thus, closing schools also has economic effects which are unevenly distributed among the population.

While simpler models also have their merits, my paper shows that such a more complex agent-based approach can make a difference with regard to the results, and I hope to further improve and deepen my work on this topic in the near future. Winning this prize certainly gives me a massive motivation boost to do so.

I have worked many days and nights on this model and paper. Seeing that this research is valued at the EAEPE conference, which is so important for my field of research, really fills me with joy. While I hope that this particular line of research will become less relevant soon, I look forward to continuing my work on agent-based economics and evolutionary macroeconomics and discussing this work at many EAEPE conferences to come. Thank you very much!