| Steve Phelan |
I have used a lot of simulation studies in past papers and I currently sit on the editorial board of the Journal of Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory (CMOT). However, I was surprised to stumble upon an emerging field in economics called “metanomics.”
According to the FAQ on the site:
“Metanomics” refers to the study of the business and policy aspects of the “metaverse” of virtual worlds. Metanomics can focus on issues arising within virtual worlds, such as how developers manage the economy of a game world (like World of Warcraft), or how residents of virtual worlds manage and regulate business. Metanomics also includes the study of how real-world businesses can use virtual worlds as part of their strategy, and how real-world law and regulation might apply to virtual-world activities. Finally, metanomics includes the use of virtual worlds as laboratories in which to study real-world business or policy issues.
Metanomics can take an “immersionist,” “augmentationist,” or “experimentalist” perspective. Immersionist metanomics attempts to understand business and policy issues from entirely within the virtual world in question, with little reference to the outside world. Augmentationist metanomics views the metaverse as simple an addition (augmentation) to the real world, and examines how its appearance affects business practice and regulatory policy. Experimentalist metanomics uses the metaverse as a laboratory in which to conduct controlled experiments that can tell us something new about the real world (such as eliminating capital gains taxes actually does increase investment and productivity).
Apparently, the online world Second Life has been a favorite topic of study for armchair metanomicists. Oh, and in case you think this is a fringe movement — I found the site via the website of Cornell accounting professor Robert Bloomfield — who seems to be taking it pretty seriously.