Lorentz Center - Socio-Economic Complexity from 23 Mar 2015 through 27 Mar 2015
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    Socio-Economic Complexity
    from 23 Mar 2015 through 27 Mar 2015


Scientific Report Lorentz Workshop Socio-Economic Complexity

23-27 March, 2015, Lorentz Center, Leiden


Organizers: Stefano Battiston (U.Zürich), Andreas Flache (U.Groningen), Diego Garlaschelli (U.Leiden), Hans Heesterbeek (U.Utrecht), Cars Hommes (U.Amsterdam)


Description & Aim

The aim of the NIAS-Lorentz Workshop Socio-Economic Complexity was to stimulate national and international interdisciplinary research and cooperation between economists, physicists, social scientists, ecologists, mathematicians, computer scientists and biologists to develop complex systems based approaches aimed at understanding systemic instabilities and crises in socio-economic systems.


Main Themes

The workshop brought together leading experts in complexity from different fields. The aim of the workshop was to stimulate and intensify national and international cooperation and to start concrete joint research projects applying complexity tools to the socio-economic domain. Each day  focused on one common theme. The leading question was: how can complexity tools be used to address socio-economic applications and problems and to manage the fragility and resilience of complex socio-economic systems? The five domains and themes were:


-          Complexity & Contagion in Social Systems

-          Complex Networks,  Systemic Risk & Financial Fragility

-          Agent-Based Models & Epidemiology

-          Critical Transitions & Early Warning Signals

-          Complexity & Policy



The workshop was very successful with more than 50 participants, 30 senior researchers including 16 distinguished speakers, with keynotes by Martin Scheffer (Wageningen), Andy Haldane (Bank of England), Carlo Jaeger (Gobal Climate Forum) and Charlotte Hemelrijk (Groningen), senior participants from mathematics, physics, ecology, epidemiology, biology, computer science,  social sciences, economics, finance, banking and climate change, and about 20 postdocs and PhD students from different countries.


Policy Panel Debate

The last day of the workshop was devoted to Complexity & Policy and the workshop ended with a Policy Panel Debate between academics and policy makers (e.g. from DNB and CBS). The best sign that the workshop was successful is perhaps the fact that the participants with very heterogeneous backgrounds seem to speak a common ``complexity language”. This also illustrates the success of the NWO Complexity program in the past five years, where many interdisciplinary meetings have been organized. The policy panel debate worked very well with stimulating discussion about complexity research and its relevance for policy.


Potential Outcomes

Participants can submit their contributions to a special issue of the new journal Complexity Economics planned to appear in 2016. The organizers together with the keynote speakers are preparing an article on Complexity and Policy to be submitted to the Insights section of Science.