School of Economics

2015 Discussion papers

School of Economics Discussion Paper 15/07

Direct calibration and comparison of agent-based
herding models of financial markets

Sylvain Barde
University of Kent

April 2015


The present paper aims to test a new model comparison methodology by calibrating and comparing three agent-based models of financial markets on the daily returns of 18 indices. The models chosen for this empirical application are the herding model of Gilli & Winker, its asymmetric version by Alfarano, Lux & Wagner and the more recent model by Franke & Westerhoff, which all share a common lineage to the herding model introduced by Kirman (1993). In addition, standard ARCH processes are included for each financial series to provide a benchmark for the explanatory power of the models. The methodology provides a clear and consistent ranking of the three models. More importantly, it also reveals that the best performing model, Franke & Westerhoff, is generally not distinguishable from an ARCH-type process, suggesting their explanatory power on the data is similar.

JEL Classification: C15; C52; G12

Keywords: Model selection; agent-based models; herding behaviour

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Last Updated: 12/05/2015