Emergence of complex social behaviors from the canonical consumption model

Fausto Cavalli, Ahmad Naimzada, Marina Pireddu

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1 Citation (Scopus)


We study complex phenomena arising from a simple optimal choice consumer model, starting from the classical framework in Benhabib and Day (Rev Econ Stud 48(3):459–471, 1981). We introduce elements of increasing complexity (dynamic adjustment processes, nonlinear social interdependence, agents heterogeneity, agents local interaction) and we investigate their effects on the resulting social behaviors. The dynamics introduce the dependence of current preferences on past consumers actions. A non-monotone updating preference function allows us to obtain a threshold effect, according to which the agents adopt a bandwagon/snob behavior if the preferences are below/above a certain saturation level. We consider homogeneous and heterogeneous agents and we introduce local/global interaction when they are spatially distributed. We show through simulations several phenomena which are absent in the classical model and which reproduce significant social behaviors, such as path dependence, coexistence of different periodic and chaotic attractors, emergence of spatial patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Agents heterogeneity
  • Consumer model
  • Dynamic adjustment process
  • Fashion cycle
  • Local interaction
  • Nonlinear threshold effect


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