Computational Model Library

RiskNetABM

Meike Will Jürgen Groeneveld Friederike Lenel Karin Frank Birgit Müller | Published Mon Jul 20 13:41:17 2020 | Last modified Mon May 3 16:26:34 2021

The fight against poverty is an urgent global challenge. Microinsurance is promoted as a valuable instrument for buffering income losses due to health or climate-related risks of low-income households in developing countries. However, apart from direct positive effects they can have unintended side effects when insured households lower their contribution to traditional arrangements where risk is shared through private monetary support.

RiskNetABM is an agent-based model that captures dynamics between income losses, insurance payments and informal risk-sharing. The model explicitly includes decisions about informal transfers. It can be used to assess the impact of insurance products and informal risk-sharing arrangements on the resilience of smallholders. Specifically, it allows to analyze whether and how economic needs (i.e. level of living costs) and characteristics of extreme events (i.e. frequency, intensity and type of shock) influence the ability of insurance and informal risk-sharing to buffer income shocks. Two types of behavior with regard to private monetary transfers are explicitly distinguished: (1) all households provide transfers whenever they can afford it and (2) insured households do not show solidarity with their uninsured peers.

The model is stylized and is not used to analyze a particular case study, but represents conditions from several regions with different risk contexts where informal risk-sharing networks between smallholder farmers are prevalent.

Policymakers decide on alternative policies facing restricted budgets and uncertain, ever-changing future. Designing housing policies is further difficult giving the 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 literature. PS2 is applied to a comparison among three competing municipal housing policies aimed at alleviating poverty: (a) property acquisition and distribution, (b) rental vouchers and (c) monetary aid. Within the model context, the monetary aid, that is, a 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 recent years we have seen multiple incidents with a large number of people injured and killed by one or more armed attackers. Since this type of violence is difficult to predict, detecting threats as early as possible allows to generate early warnings and reduce response time. In this context, any tool to check and compare different action protocols can be a further step in the direction of saving lives. Our proposal combines features from continuous and discrete models to obtain the best of both worlds in order to simulate large and crowded spaces where complex behavior individuals interact. With this proposal we aim to provide a tool for testing different security protocols under several emergency scenarios, where spaces, hazards, and population can be customized. Finally, we use a proof of concept implementation of this model to test specific security protocols under emergency situations for real spaces. Specifically, we test how providing some users of a university college with an app that informs about the type and characteristics of the ongoing hazard, affects in the safety performance.

Schelling famously proposed an extremely simple but highly illustrative social mechanism to understand how strong ethnic segregation could arise in a world where individuals do not necessarily want it. Schelling’s simple computational model is the starting point for our extensions in which we build upon Wilensky’s original NetLogo implementation of this model. Our two NetLogo models can be best studied while reading our chapter “Agent-based Computational Models” (Flache and de Matos Fernandes, 2021 [forthcoming]). In the chapter, we propose 10 best practices to elucidate how agent-based models are a unique method for providing and analyzing formally precise, and empirically plausible mechanistic explanations of puzzling social phenomena, such as segregation, in the social world. Our chapter addresses in particular analytical sociologists who are new to ABMs.

In the first model (SegregationExtended), we build on Wilensky’s implementation of Schelling’s model which is available in NetLogo library (Wilensky, 1997). We considerably extend this model, allowing in particular to include larger neighborhoods and a population with four groups roughly resembling the ethnic composition of a contemporary large U.S. city. Further features added concern the possibility to include random noise, and the addition of a number of new outcome measures tuned to highlight macro-level implications of the segregation dynamics for different groups in the agent society.

In SegregationDiscreteChoice, we further modify the model incorporating in particular three new features: 1) heterogeneous preferences roughly based on empirical research categorizing agents into low, medium, and highly tolerant within each of the ethnic subgroups of the population, 2) we drop global thresholds (%-similar-wanted) and introduce instead a continuous individual-level single-peaked preference function for agents’ ideal neighborhood composition, and 3) we use a discrete choice model according to which agents probabilistically decide whether to move to a vacant spot or stay in the current spot by comparing the attractiveness of both locations based on the individual preference functions.

The purpose of the model is to collect information on human decision-making in the context of coalition formation games. The model uses a human-in-the-loop approach, and a single human is involved in each trial. All other agents are controlled by the ABMSCORE algorithm (Vernon-Bido and Collins 2020), which is an extension of the algorithm created by Collins and Frydenlund (2018). The glove game, a standard cooperative game, is used as the model scenario.

The intent of the game is to collection information on the human players behavior and how that compares to the computerized agents behavior. The final coalition structure of the game is compared to an ideal output (the core of the games).

Violence against women occurs predominantly in the family and domestic context. The COVID-19 pandemic led Brazil to recommend and, at times, impose social distancing, with the partial closure of economic activities, schools, and restrictions on events and public services. Preliminary evidence shows that intense co- existence increases domestic violence, while social distancing measures may have prevented access to public services and networks, information, and help. We propose an agent-based model (ABM), called VIDA, to illustrate and examine multi-causal factors that influence events that generate violence. A central part of the model is the multi-causal stress indicator, created as a probability trigger of domestic violence occurring within the family environment. Two experimental design tests were performed: (a) absence or presence of the deterrence system of domestic violence against women and measures to increase social distancing. VIDA presents comparative results for metropolitan regions and neighbourhoods considered in the experiments. Results suggest that social distancing measures, particularly those encouraging staying at home, may have increased domestic violence against women by about 10%. VIDA suggests further that more populated areas have comparatively fewer cases per hundred thousand women than less populous capitals or rural areas of urban concentrations. This paper contributes to the literature by formalising, to the best of our knowledge, the first model of domestic violence through agent-based modelling, using empirical detailed socioeconomic, demographic, educational, gender, and race data at the intraurban level (census sectors).

SESPES: socio-ecological systems and payment for ecosystem services model

Eulàlia Baulenas | Published Sun Dec 20 16:44:58 2020 | Last modified Sun Dec 20 18:43:41 2020

The purpose of this spatially-explicit agent-based model is to intervene in the debate about PES policy design, implementation and context. We use the case for a woodland-for-water payment for ecosystem services (PES) and model its implementation in a local area of Catalonia (NE Spain). The model is based on three sub-models. The structural contains four different designs of a PES policy. The social sub-model includes agent-based factors, by having four types of landowner categories managing or not the forests. This sub-model is based on behavioral studies and assumptions about reception and reaction to incentive policies from European-focused studies. The ecological sub-model is based on climate change data for the area. The output are the evolution of the ecological and social goals of the policy under different policy design scenarios. Our focus in Europe surges from the general context of land abandonment that many Mediterranean areas and Eastern countries are experiencing, and the growing interest from policy-makers and practitioners on the implementation of PES schemes to ameliorate this situation.

Schelling and Sakoda prominently proposed computational models suggesting that strong ethnic residential segregation can be the unintended outcome of a self-reinforcing dynamic driven by choices of individuals with rather tolerant ethnic preferences. There are only few attempts to apply this view to school choice, another important arena in which ethnic segregation occurs. In the current paper, we explore with an agent-based theoretical model similar to those proposed for residential segregation, how ethnic tolerance among parents can affect the level of school segregation. More specifically, we ask whether and under which conditions school segregation could be reduced if more parents hold tolerant ethnic preferences. We move beyond earlier models of school segregation in three ways. First, we model individual school choices using a random utility discrete choice approach. Second, we vary the pattern of ethnic segregation in the residential context of school choices systematically, comparing residential maps in which segregation is unrelated to parents’ level of tolerance to residential maps reflecting their ethnic preferences. Third, we introduce heterogeneity in tolerance levels among parents belonging to the same group. Our simulation experiments suggest that ethnic school segregation can be a very robust phenomenon, occurring even when about half of the population prefers mixed to segregated schools. However, we also identify a “sweet spot” in the parameter space in which a larger proportion of tolerant parents makes the biggest difference. This is the case when parents have moderate preferences for nearby schools and there is only little residential segregation. Further experiments are presented that unravel the underlying mechanisms.

This model examines an important but underappreciated mechanism affecting urban segregation and integration: urban venues. The venue- an area where urbanites interact- is an essential aspect of city life that tends to influence how satisfactory any location is. We study the venue/segregation relationship by installing venues into Schelling’s classic agent-based segregation model.

Informal City version 1.0

Nina Schwarz | Published Fri Jul 25 15:11:26 2014 | Last modified Thu Jul 30 07:35:00 2015

InformalCity, a spatially explicit agent-based model, simulates an artificial city and allows for testing configurations of urban upgrading schemes in informal settlements.

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