Computational Model Library

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.

With this model, we investigate resource extraction and labor conditions in the Global South as well as implications for climate change originating from industry emissions in the North. The model serves as a testbed for simulation experiments with evolutionary political economic policies addressing these issues. In the model, heterogeneous agents interact in a self-organizing and endogenously developing economy. The economy contains two distinct regions – an abstract Global South and Global North. There are three interlinked sectors, the consumption good–, capital good–, and resource production sector. Each region contains an independent consumption good sector, with domestic demand for final goods. They produce a fictitious consumption good basket, and sell it to the households in the respective region. The other sectors are only present in one region. The capital good sector is only found in the Global North, meaning capital goods (i.e. machines) are exclusively produced there, but are traded to the foreign as well as the domestic market as an intermediary. For the production of machines, the capital good firms need labor, machines themselves and resources. The resource production sector, on the other hand, is only located in the Global South. Mines extract resources and export them to the capital firms in the North. For the extraction of resources, the mines need labor and machines. In all three sectors, prices, wages, number of workers and physical capital of the firms develop independently throughout the simulation. To test policies, an international institution is introduced sanctioning the polluting extractivist sector in the Global South as well as the emitting industrial capital good producers in the North with the aim of subsidizing innovation reducing environmental and social impacts.

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.

Model of Rental Evictions in Phoenix During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Sean Bergin J Applegate | Published Sat Jul 31 17:39:59 2021 | Last modified Fri Oct 15 20:37:36 2021

The purpose of this model is to explore the dynamics of residency and eviction for households renting in the greater Phoenix (Arizona) metropolitan area. The model uses a representative population of renters modified from American Community Survey (ACS) data that includes demographic, housing and economic information. Each month, households pay their subsistence, rental and utility bills. If a household is unable to pay their monthly rent or utility bill they apply for financial assistance. This model provides a platform to understand the impact of various economic shock upon households. Also, the model includes conditions that occurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which allows for the study of eviction mitigation strategies that were employed, such as the eviction moratorium and stimulus payments. The model allows us to make preliminary predictions concerning the number of households that may be evicted once the moratorium on evictions ends and the long-term effects on the number of evicted households in the greater Phoenix area going forward.

The agent-based model WEEM (Woodlot Establishment and Expansion Model) as described in the journal article, has been designed to make use of household socio-demographics (household status, birth, and death events of households), to better understand the temporal dynamics of woodlot in the buffer zones of Budongo protected forest reserve, Masindi district, Uganda. The results contribute to a mechanistic understanding of what determines the current gap between intention and actual behavior in forest land restoration at farm level.

This model allows simulating the impacts of floods on a population. Floods are described by their intensity (flood height) and date of occurrence. Households are more or less severely hit by floods according to their geographical situation. Impacts are measured in terms of reductions in household wealth. Households may take up protection measures against floods, depending on their individual characteristics, a social network and information campaigns. If such measures are taken, flood impacts (wealth reduction) are less severe. Information campaigns increase the probability that households adopt protection measures. Two types of information campaigns are modeled: top-down policies which are the same for all households, people-centered policies, which adapt to the individual characteristics of each household.

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).

This model is an agent-based simulation written in Python 2.7, which simulates the cost of social care in an ageing UK population. The simulation incorporates processes of population change which affect the demand for and supply of social care, including health status, partnership formation, fertility and mortality. Fertility and mortality rates are drawn from UK population data, then projected forward to 2050 using the methods developed by Lee and Carter 1992.

The model demonstrates that rising life expectancy combined with lower birthrates leads to growing social care costs across the population. More surprisingly, the model shows that the oft-proposed intervention of raising the retirement age has limited utility; some reductions in costs are attained initially, but these reductions taper off beyond age 70. Subsequent work has enhanced and extended this model by adding more detail to agent behaviours and familial relationships.

The version of the model provided here produces outputs in a format compatible with the GEM-SA uncertainty quantification software by Kennedy and O’Hagan. This allows sensitivity analyses to be performed using Gaussian Process Emulation.

The Price Evolution with Expectations model provides the opportunity to explore the question of non-equilibrium market dynamics, and how and under which conditions an economic system converges to the classically defined economic equilibrium. To accomplish this, we bring together two points of view of the economy; the classical perspective of general equilibrium theory and an evolutionary perspective, in which the current development of the economic system determines the possibilities for further evolution.

The Price Evolution with Expectations model consists of a representative firm producing no profit but producing a single good, which we call sugar, and a representative household which provides labour to the firm and purchases sugar.The model explores the evolutionary dynamics whereby the firm does not initially know the household demand but eventually this demand and thus the correct price for sugar given the household’s optimal labour.

The model can be run in one of two ways; the first does not include money and the second uses money such that the firm and/or the household have an endowment that can be spent or saved. In either case, the household has preferences for leisure and consumption and a demand function relating sugar and price, and the firm has a production function and learns the household demand over a set number of time steps using either an endogenous or exogenous learning algorithm. The resulting equilibria, or fixed points of the system, may or may not match the classical economic equilibrium.

The Simulating Agroforestry Adoption in Rural Indonesia (SAFARI) model aims at exploring the adoption of illipe rubber agroforestry systems by farming households in the case study region in rural Indonesia. Thereby, the ABM simulates the interdependencies of agroforestry systems and local livelihoods, income, land use, biodiversity, and carbon fixation. The model contrasts development paths without agroforestry (business as usual (BAU) scenario), corresponding to a scenario where the government promotes rubber monoculture, with the introduction of illipe rubber agroforestry systems (IRA scenario) as an alternative. It aims to support policy-makers to assess the potential of IRA over larger temporal and spatial scales.

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