Welcome to the WorkSim project website ! WorkSim is a novel multi-agent tool to study labor markets.


September 2017 - we gave a talk at OECD , NAEC Innovation Lab Workshop   [slides]

February 2017 - Our evaluation of the French Labor "El Khomri" law with WorkSim is cited by the European Commission (Country Report France 2017 p. 33)

June 2017 - We presented WorkSim at Oxford University and at Kingston University

July 2016 - Our evaluation of the French Labor "El Khomri" law with WorkSim is cited by the International Monetary Fund (IMF Country Report No. 16/228 p.20- pdf)


Evaluating the El Khomri Labor Law (EKL)

In February 2016, the French Government lauched a law proposal , the El Khomri Labor Law (named from Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri). The law contained many articles and we focused on the main upheaval introduced by the law : the facilitation of economic dismissals, that was the primary source of protests and demonstrations during Spring 2016 in France. Our evaluation of the EKL was the first (and only) quantitative evaluation.


July 2016 - Our evaluation of EKL with WorkSim is cited by the IMF (IMF Country Report No. 16/228 p.20 - pdf)


March 2016 - First Communiqué (in French)


Media Intervention (in French)

Video / TV :

Mediapart - Espace de travail - May 26 2016 : Video Interview (+130 000 views on youtube)


France Info - 11 avril 2016 - 9h15 : Interview on French National Radio(audio)

Le Mot de l'éco - France Info - 26 mars 2016


The Conversation - 28 avril 2016: Comment la Loi El Khomri change profondément le marché du travail… mais n’améliore pas l’emploi global - paper reprinted in Marianne, La Tribune and Sud-Ouest

L'Obs & Rue 89 - 10 avril 2016 : "Worksim : le logiciel qui simule les conséquences de la loi travail"

Le Monde - 5 avril 2016 : "Le projet de loi El Khomri modifie profondément le marché du travail sans améliorer l’emploi global"





Multi-agent model of the labour market

WorkSim is a project created by Jean-Daniel Kant in 2006 to model and simulate the French labour market. It is led by a multidisciplinary team comprising computer scientists (JD Kant, Olivier Goudet) and an economist (Gérard Ballot). It uses techniques derived from artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems, composed of interacting software agents that aim to mimic the behaviour of economic agents. We draw on the most recent microeconomic analysis while taking into account that human rationality is limited in a very complex market.

Main features

Individuals and firms

Unlike many models, WorkSim takes into account both sides of the labour market: individuals and companies. The agents each have specific attributes, determined once and for all at their creation, as well as internal variables that evolve throughout the simulation. Individuals and businesses are initialized on the basis of numerous INSEE data available: demographics (especially the households that are modelled in WorkSim), and economics (employment, contracts, etc.). Thus WorkSim reproduces the labour market on a scale currently varying between 1/2000 and 1/1400 (from 20,000 to 30,000 agents).


The main elements of labour law (CDD and CDI labour contracts, termination indemnities, etc.) are integrated, as well as 3 modules representing: the State recruiting civil servants, JobAds, the equivalent of a jobcenter-type site that lists job offers from companies and job applications from individuals, and a statistical institute that disseminates a limited number of statistical data to agents.

Limited rationality decisions

Individuals decide at any given moment whether they remain in their current state (e. g. unemployed, inactive, employed) or whether they decide to change state (e. g. seek a job or go into inactivity for an unemployed person, seek a job in another company for an employee, etc.). Unlike conventional models, these decisions respect the cognitive limitations of human subjects (bounded rationality), information is available but limited in quantity. Individuals look for the state that offers the best satisfaction, among the choices available to them. At the heart of people's behaviour is an extended version of the theory of job search offered in labour economics.

Endogenous choice for job creation

Companies make decisions to increase their profits. Depending on their demand (which varies over time), they decide to create or eliminate positions, hire, evaluate and manage their staff (e. g. promotions). The decision to create a job requires an innovative demand anticipation mechanism, with finite time horizon to take account of limited rationality. It makes it possible to endogenize the choice between a fixed-term contract (and its duration) and a permanent contract.

Validation on actual data

WorkSim parameters are calibrated automatically (using a powerful optimization algorithm, CMA-ES) to reproduce more than 60 real data (INSEE, DARES, Eurostat,...). In addition to these targets, most of the stylized facts of the French labour market are reproduced by WorkSim (flow, segmentation of the labour market, long-term unemployment, etc.).

Evaluation of labour market policies

We have already evaluated several policies on the labour market with WorkSim: generation contract, reduction of charges, elimination of fixed-term contracts, labour law, etc. For more details, see publications.

See also this presentation.


How does WorkSim work ?

Simulation Cycle

Here we show the complete simulation cycle in WorkSim. 1 step in the simulation equals 1 week in real life, in order to take into account short contracts.


Individuals' Decision Diagram


This figure represents the decisions of individuals, depicted as a State Diagram. At each time step, the individual compares the usefulness of his current state, with the states he can reach, and chooses the best.


Here you will find a selection of some recent publications about the WorkSim project (click on the title to download)

Last paper

This paper synthetizes our last version of the WorkSim model and its applications to policy evaluation.

Reference: J.-D. Kant, G. Ballot, O. Goudet (2020) – «WorkSim, an agent-based model to study labor markets»
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
23 (4) 4

Choice of contracts

Here we focus on the endogeneous choice of contract type.

Reference: O. Goudet, J.-D. Kant, G. Ballot (2015) – « How to choose a contract type in the French Labor Market ? An agent-based endogenous model », AE 2015 - 11th Artificial Economics conference, Porto.

First version of the model

Reference: O. Goudet, J. D. Kant, G. Ballot (2016) –  “WorkSim - a calibrated agent-based model of the labor market accounting for workers' stocks and gross flows”. Computational Economics, July 2016, pp. 1-48. doi:10.1007/s10614-016-9577-0


Jean-Daniel Kant

Project Leader

Associaté Professor wirh Habilitation (HDR) in computer science at Sorbonne University - Sciences

Multi-Agents Systems Team (SMA) of the Paris 6 Computer Science Laboratory (LIP6)

Gérard Ballot

Professor emeritus of Economics at the Panthéon-Assas University

Centre for Research in Economics and Law (CRED)

Olivier Goudet

Former PhD Student at LIP6 - UPMC


Jean-Daniel KANT

Email (clck to send): Jean-Daniel[dot]Kant[at]lip6.fr

Phone +33 1 44 27 88 05

Sorbonne Université - Sciences
LIP6 (Laboratoire Informatique de Paris 6)
4, place Jussieu
75005 Paris