Computational Model Library

Police funding: legitimacy and hardship

Jack Mitcham | Published Sun Feb 27 19:35:02 2022

An extension of Epstein’s (2002) model for civil violence and Fonoberova et al’s (2012) extension of Epstein’s model. Uses heterogeneous hardship values and dynamic legitimacy values. Models public funding decisions between police and social welfare.

The integrated and spatially-explicit ABM, called DIReC (Demography, Industry and Residential Choice), has been developed for Aberdeen City and the surrounding Aberdeenshire (Ge, Polhill, Craig, & Liu, 2018). The model includes demographic (individual and household) models, housing infrastructure and occupancy, neighbourhood quality and evolution, employment and labour market, business relocation, industrial structure, income distribution and macroeconomic indicators. DIReC includes a detailed spatial housing model, basing preference models on house attributes and multi-dimensional neighbourhood qualities (education, crime, employment etc.).
The dynamic ABM simulates the interactions between individuals, households, the labour market, businesses and services, neighbourhoods and economic structures. It is empirically grounded using multiple data sources, such as income and gender-age distribution across industries, neighbourhood attributes, business locations, and housing transactions. It has been used to study the impact of economic shocks and structural changes, such as the crash of oil price in 2014 (the Aberdeen economy heavily relies on the gas and oil sector) and the city’s transition from resource-based to a green economy (Ge, Polhill, Craig, & Liu, 2018).

System Narrative
How do rebel groups control territory and engage with the local economy during civil war? Charles Tilly’s seminal War and State Making as Organized Crime (1985) posits that the process of waging war and providing governance resembles that of a protection racket, in which aspiring governing groups will extort local populations in order to gain power, and civilians or businesses will pay in order to ensure their own protection. As civil war research increasingly probes the mechanisms that fuel local disputes and the origination of violence, we develop an agent-based simulation model to explore the economic relationship of rebel groups with local populations, using extortion racket interactions to explain the dynamics of rebel fighting, their impact on the economy, and the importance of their economic base of support. This analysis provides insights for understanding the causes and byproducts of rebel competition in present-day conflicts, such as the cases of South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

Model Description
The model defines two object types: RebelGroup and Enterprise. A RebelGroup is a group that competes for power in a system of anarchy, in which there is effectively no government control. An Enterprise is a local civilian-level actor that conducts business in this environment, whose objective is to make a profit. In this system, a RebelGroup may choose to extort money from Enterprises in order to support its fighting efforts. It can extract payments from an Enterprise, which fears for its safety if it does not pay. This adds some amount of money to the RebelGroup’s resources, and they can return to extort the same Enterprise again. The RebelGroup can also choose to loot the Enterprise instead. This results in gaining all of the Enterprise wealth, but prompts the individual Enterprise to flee, or leave the model. This reduces the available pool of Enterprises available to the RebelGroup for extortion. Following these interactions the RebelGroup can choose to AllocateWealth, or pay its rebel fighters. Depending on the value of its available resources, it can add more rebels or expel some of those which it already has, changing its size. It can also choose to expand over new territory, or effectively increase its number of potential extorting Enterprises. As a response to these dynamics, an Enterprise can choose to Report expansion to another RebelGroup, which results in fighting between the two groups. This system shows how, faced with economic choices, RebelGroups and Enterprises make decisions in war that impact conflict and violence outcomes.

We develop an IBM that predicts how interactions between elephants, poachers, and law enforcement affect poaching levels within a virtual protected area. The model is theoretical at this stage and is not meant to provide a realistic depiction of poaching, but instead to demonstrate how IBMs can expand upon the existing modelling work done in this field, and to provide a framework for future research. The model could be further developed into a useful management support tool to predict the outcomes of various poaching mitigation strategies at real-world locations. The model was implemented in NetLogo version 6.1.0.

We first compared a scenario in which poachers have prescribed, non-adaptive decision-making and move randomly across the landscape, to one in which poachers adaptively respond to their memories of elephant locations and where other poachers have been caught by law enforcement. We then compare a situation in which ranger effort is distributed unevenly across the protected area to one in which rangers patrol by adaptively following elephant matriarchal herds.

The model employs an agent-based model for exploring the victim-centered approach to identifying human trafficking and the approach’s effectiveness in an abstract representation of migrant flows.

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