Computational Model Library

This model simulations social and childcare provision in the UK. Agents within simulated households can decide to provide for informal care, or pay for private care, for their loved ones after they have provided for childcare needs. Agents base these decisions on factors including their own health, employment status, financial resources, relationship to the individual in need and geographical location. This model extends our previous simulations of social care by simulating the impact of childcare demand on social care availability within households, which is known to be a significant constraint on informal care provision.

Results show that our model replicates realistic patterns of social and child care provision, suggesting that this framework can be a valuable aid to policy-making in this area.

The purpose of this model is the simulation of social care provision in the UK, in which individual agents can decide to provide informal care, or pay for private care, for their loved ones. Agents base these decisions on factors including their own health, employment status, financial resources, relationship to the individual in need and geographical location. The model simulates care provision as a negotiation process conducted between agents across their kinship networks, with agents with stronger familial relationships to the recipient being more likely to attempt to allocate time to care provision. The model also simulates demographic change, the impact of socioeconomic status, and allows agents to relocate and change jobs or reduce working hours in order to provide care.
Despite the relative lack of empirical data in this model, the model is able to reproduce plausible patterns of social care provision. The inclusion of detailed economic and behavioural mechanisms allows this model to serve as a useful policy development tool; complex behavioural interventions can be implemented in simulation and tested on a virtual population before applying them in real-world contexts.

Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) threaten smallholder livelihoods globally. Despite more than a decade of research on the LSLA phenomenon, it remains a challenge to identify governance conditions that may foster beneficial outcomes for both smallholders and investors. One potentially promising strategy toward this end is contract farming (CF), which more directly involves smallholder households in commodity production than conditions of acquisition and displacement.

To improve understanding of how CF may mediate the outcomes of LSLAs, we developed an agent-based model of smallholder livelihoods, which we used as a virtual laboratory to experiment on a range of hypothetical LSLA and CF implementation scenarios.

The model represents a community of smallholder households in a mixed crop-livestock system. Each agent farms their own land and manages a herd of livestock. Agents can also engage in off-farm employment, for which they earn a fixed wage and compete for a limited number of jobs. The principal model outputs include measures of household food security (representing access to a single, staple food crop) and agricultural production (of a single, staple food crop).

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).

The current rate of production and consumption of meat poses a problem both to peoples’ health and to the environment. This work aims to develop a simulation of peoples’ meat consumption behaviour in Britain using agent-based modelling. The agents represent individual consumers. The key variables that characterise agents include sex, age, monthly income, perception of the living cost, and concerns about the impact of meat on the environment, health, and animal welfare. A process of peer influence is modelled with respect to the agents’ concerns. Influence spreads across two eating networks (i.e. co-workers and household members) depending on the time of day, day of the week, and agents’ employment status. Data from a representative sample of British consumers is used to empirically ground the model. Different experiments are run simulating interventions of application of social marketing campaigns and a rise in price of meat. The main outcome is the average weekly consumption of meat per consumer. A secondary outcome is the likelihood of eating meat.

Crowdworking Model

Georg Jäger | Published Wed Sep 25 06:25:58 2019

The purpose of this agent-based model is to compare different variants of crowdworking in a general way, so that the obtained results are independent of specific details of the crowdworking platform. It features many adjustable parameters that can be used to calibrate the model to empirical data, but also when not calibrated it yields essential results about crowdworking in general.
Agents compete for contracts on a virtual crowdworking platform. Each agent is defined by various properties like qualification and income expectation. Agents that are unable to turn a profit have a chance to quit the crowdworking platform and new crowdworkers can replace them. Thus the model has features of an evolutionary process, filtering out the ill suited agents, and generating a realistic distribution of agents from an initially random one. To simulate a stable system, the amount of contracts issued per day can be set constant, as well as the number of crowdworkers. If one is interested in a dynamically changing platform, the simulation can also be initialized in a way that increases or decreases the number of crowdworkers or number of contracts over time. Thus, a large variety of scenarios can be investigated.

Peer reviewed Emergent Firms Model

J Applegate | Published Fri Jul 13 15:04:37 2018

The Emergent Firm (EF) model is based on the premise that firms arise out of individuals choosing to work together to advantage themselves of the benefits of returns-to-scale and coordination. The Emergent Firm (EF) model is a new implementation and extension of Rob Axtell’s Endogenous Dynamics of Multi-Agent Firms model. Like the Axtell model, the EF model describes how economies, composed of firms, form and evolve out of the utility maximizing activity on the part of individual agents. The EF model includes a cash-in-advance constraint on agents changing employment, as well as a universal credit-creating lender to explore how costs and access to capital affect the emergent economy and its macroeconomic characteristics such as firm size distributions, wealth, debt, wages and productivity.

Takács, K. and Squazzoni, F. 2015. High Standards Enhance Inequality in Idealized Labor Markets. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 18(4), 2, http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/18/4/2.html
We built a simple model of an idealized labor market, in which there is no objective difference in average quality between groups and hiring decisions are not biased in favor of any particular group. Our results show that inequality in employment emerges necessarily also in such idealized situations due to the limited supply of high quality individuals and asymmetric information. Inequalities are exacerbated when employers have high standards and keep only the best workers in house. We found that ambitious workers get higher quality jobs even if ambition does not correlate or even negatively correlates with internal quality. Our findings help to corroborate empirical findings on higher employment discrepancies in high rather than low status jobs.

Informal Information Transmission Networks among Medieval Genoese Investors

Christopher Frantz | Published Wed Oct 9 02:22:00 2013 | Last modified Thu Oct 24 10:39:55 2013

This model represents informal information transmission networks among medieval Genoese investors used to inform each other about cheating merchants they employed as part of long-distance trade operations.

We present an Agent-Based Stock Flow Consistent Multi-Country model of a Currency Union to analyze the impact of changes in the fiscal regimes that is permanent changes in the deficit-to-GDP targets that governments commit to comply.

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