Computational Model Library

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Peer reviewed PolicySpace2: modeling markets and endogenous public policies

B Furtado | Published Thu Feb 25 13:21:22 2021 | Last modified Fri Jan 14 13:46:42 2022

Policymakers decide on alternative policies facing restricted budgets and uncertain future. Designing public policies is further difficult due to the need to decide on priorities and handle effects across policies. Housing policies, specifically, involve heterogeneous characteristics of properties themselves and the intricacy of housing markets and the spatial context of cities. We propose PolicySpace2 (PS2) as an adapted and extended version of the open source PolicySpace agent-based model. PS2 is a computer simulation that relies on empirically detailed spatial data to model real estate, along with labor, credit, and goods and services markets. Interaction among workers, firms, a bank, households and municipalities follow the literature benchmarks to integrate economic, spatial and transport scholarship. PS2 is applied to a comparison among three competing public policies aimed at reducing inequality and alleviating poverty: (a) house acquisition by the government and distribution to lower income households, (b) rental vouchers, and (c) monetary aid. Within the model context, the monetary aid, that is, smaller amounts of help for a larger number of households, makes the economy perform better in terms of production, consumption, reduction of inequality, and maintenance of financial duties. PS2 as such is also a framework that may be further adapted to a number of related research questions.

In the “World of Cows”, dairy farmers run their farms and interact with each other, the surrounding agricultural landscape, and the economic and political framework. The model serves as an exemplary case of an interdependent human-environment system.

With the model, users can analyze the influence of policies and markets on land use decisions of dairy farms. The land use decisions taken by farms determine the delivered ecosystem services on the landscape level. Users can choose a combination of five policy options and how strongly market prices fluctuate. Ideally, the choice of policy options fulfills the following three “political goals” 1) dairy farming stays economically viable, 2) the provision of ecosystem services is secured, and 3) government spending on subsidies is as low as possible.

The model has been designed for students to practice agent-based modeling and analyze the impacts of land use policies.

Digital social networks facilitate the opinion dynamics and idea flow and also provide reliable data to understand these dynamics. Public opinion and cooperation behavior are the key factors to determine the capacity of a successful and effective public policy. In particular, during the crises, such as the Corona virus pandemic, it is necessary to understand the people’s opinion toward a policy and the performance of the governance institutions. The problem of the mathematical explanation of the human behaviors is to simplify and bypass some of the essential process. To tackle this problem, we adopted a data-driven strategy to extract opinion and behavioral patterns from social media content to reflect the dynamics of society’s average beliefs toward different topics. We extracted important subtopics from social media contents and analyze the sentiments of users at each subtopic. Subsequently, we structured a Bayesian belief network to demonstrate the macro patters of the beliefs, opinions, information and emotions which trigger the response toward a prospective policy. We aim to understand the factors and latent factors which influence the opinion formation in the society. Our goal is to enhance the reality of the simulations. To capture the dynamics of opinions at an artificial society we apply agent-based opinion dynamics modeling. We intended to investigate practical implementation scenarios of this framework for policy analysis during Corona Virus Pandemic Crisis. The implemented modular modeling approach could be used as a flexible data-driven policy making tools to investigate public opinion in social media. The core idea is to put the opinion dynamics in the wider contexts of the collective decision-making, data-driven policy-modeling and digital democracy. We intended to use data-driven agent-based modeling as a comprehensive analysis tools to understand the collective opinion dynamics and decision making process on the social networks and uses this knowledge to utilize network-enabled policy modeling and collective intelligence platforms.

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