Econ-ARK logoNumFOCUS is pleased to announce the addition of the Econ-ARK to our fiscally sponsored projects.

As a complement to the thriving QuantEcon project (also a NumFOCUS sponsored project), the Econ-ARK is creating an open-source resource containing the tools needed to understand how diversity across economic agents (in preferences, circumstances, knowledge, etc) leads to richer and more plausible economic outcomes than would arise if everyone were identical.  

‘Structural’ modeling that captures such differences — say, between borrowers and savers, or young and old — can improve our understanding of specific markets (e.g. “how do credit card issuers balance those who always pay off their card and those who never do?”), of macroeconomic models (e.g. people with adjustable- versus fixed-rate mortgages respond differently to changes in interest rates), of fiscal policy (e.g. the effects of a tax cut depend on who receives it), and of macroprudential regulation (e.g. how effective is an “ability to repay” rule in stabilizing mortgage lending?). A key longer-term aim of the project is improving our ability to model the kinds of contagion and panic that nearly destroyed financial markets during the Great Recession.

Creation of the Econ-ARK was sponsored by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to improve its ability to understand consumer financial choices.  It has received support from the Office of Financial Research at the Treasury, the International Monetary Fund, and other economic policy institutions. The leadership team includes Christopher Carroll, Joshua Epstein, Matthew White, Nathan Palmer, and Alexander Kaufman.

Econ-ARK’s first codebase is the Heterogeneous Agent Resources Kit, HARK, written in Python; an immediate goal is to make examples available in web-based Jupyter notebooks.  We are looking for Jupyter experts to help us do this!  Longer-term, HARK aims to become the default medium of communication both for scholars new to heterogeneous agent modeling and for existing researchers who want their results to be communicable to others.  

Though young, HARK is a living code base which already has many contributors. Anyone interested is welcome to get involved.  HARK is the first component of the Econ-ARK, which will be a general purpose collection of computational economics tools, focused on heterogeneous agent modeling.

The Econ-ARK team is seeking to hire an independent contractor to build a roadmap and action plan to turn the toolkit into a thriving open-source community of scholars. Please share this job description with your networks.

To make a donation to support Econ-ARK or any of NumFOCUS’s other projects, click here.