Computational Model Library

Institutional change

Abigail Sullivan | Published Fri Oct 7 20:35:15 2016 | Last modified Sun Dec 2 04:27:11 2018

This model builds on another model in this library (“diffusion of culture”).


Pieter Van Oel | Published Mon Apr 13 12:23:50 2015

The CONSERVAT model evaluates the effect of social influence among farmers in the Lake Naivasha basin (Kenya) on the spatiotemporal diffusion pattern of soil conservation effort levels and the resulting reduction in lake sedimentation.

In order to test how prosocial strategies (compassionate altruism vs. reciprocity) grow over time, we developed an evolutionary simulation model where artificial agents are equipped with different emotionally-based drivers that vary in strength. Evolutionary algorithms mimic the evolutionary selection process by letting the chances of agents conceiving offspring depend on their fitness. Equipping the agents with heritable prosocial strategies allows for a selection of those strategies that result in the highest fitness. Since some prosocial attributes may be more successful than others, an initially heterogeneous population can specialize towards altruism or reciprocity. The success of particular prosocial strategies is also expected to depend on the cultural norms and environmental conditions the agents live in.

This model has been created with and for the researcher-farmers of the Muonde Trust (, a registered Zimbabwean non-governmental organization dedicated to fostering indigenous innovation. Model behaviors and parameters (mashandiro nemisiyano nedzimwe model) derive from a combination of literature review and the collected datasets from Muonde’s long-term (over 30 years) community-based research. The goals of this model are three-fold (muzvikamu zvitatu):
A) To represent three components of a Zimbabwean agro-pastoral system (crops, woodland grazing area, and livestock) along with their key interactions and feedbacks and some of the human management decisions that may affect these components and their interactions.
B) To assess how climate variation (implemented in several different ways) and human management may affect the sustainability of the system as measured by the continued provisioning of crops, livestock, and woodland grazing area.
C) To provide a discussion tool for the community and local leaders to explore different management strategies for the agro-pastoral system (hwaro/nzira yekudyidzana kwavanhu, zvipfuo nezvirimwa), particularly in the face of climate change.

This model aims to investigate how different type of learning (social system) and disturbance specific attributes (ecological system) influence adoption of treatment strategies to treat the effects of ecological disturbances.

Decision-makers often have to act before critical times to avoid the collapse of ecosystems using knowledge \textcolor{red}{that can be incomplete or biased}. Adaptive management may help managers tackle such issues. However, because the knowledge infrastructure required for adaptive management may be mobilized in several ways, we study the quality and the quantity of knowledge provided by this knowledge infrastructure. In order to analyze the influence of mobilized knowledge, we study how the following typology of knowledge and its use may impact the safe operating space of exploited ecosystems: 1) knowledge of the past based on a time series distorted by measurement errors; 2) knowledge of the current systems’ dynamics based on the representativeness of the decision-makers’ mental models of the exploited ecosystem; 3) knowledge of future events based on decision-makers’ likelihood estimates of extreme events based on modeling infrastructure (models and experts to interpret them) they have at their disposal. We consider different adaptive management strategies of a general regulated exploited ecosystem model and we characterize the robustness of these strategies to biased knowledge. Our results show that even with significant mobilized knowledge and optimal strategies, imperfect knowledge may still shrink the safe operating space of the system leading to the collapse of the system. However, and perhaps more interestingly, we also show that in some cases imperfect knowledge may unexpectedly increase the safe operating space by suggesting cautious strategies.
The code enables to calculate the safe operating spaces of different managers in the case of biased and unbiased knowledge.

The largely dominant meritocratic paradigm of highly competitive Western cultures is rooted on the belief that success is due mainly, if not exclusively, to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, smartness, efforts, willfulness, hard work or risk taking. Sometimes, we are willing to admit that a certain degree of luck could also play a role in achieving significant material success. But, as a matter of fact, it is rather common to underestimate the importance of external forces in individual successful stories. It is very well known that intelligence (or, more in general, talent and personal qualities) exhibits a Gaussian distribution among the population, whereas the distribution of wealth - often considered a proxy of success - follows typically a power law (Pareto law), with a large majority of poor people and a very small number of billionaires. Such a discrepancy between a Normal distribution of inputs, with a typical scale (the average talent or intelligence), and the scale invariant distribution of outputs, suggests that some hidden ingredient is at work behind the scenes. In a recent paper, with the help of this very simple agent-based model realized with NetLogo, we suggest that such an ingredient is just randomness. In particular, we show that, if it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals. As to our knowledge, this counterintuitive result - although implicitly suggested between the lines in a vast literature - is quantified here for the first time. It sheds new light on the effectiveness of assessing merit on the basis of the reached level of success and underlines the risks of distributing excessive honors or resources to people who, at the end of the day, could have been simply luckier than others. With the help of this model, several policy hypotheses are also addressed and compared to show the most efficient strategies for public funding of research in order to improve meritocracy, diversity and innovation.

The purpose of the OMOLAND-CA is to investigate the adaptive capacity of rural households in the South Omo zone of Ethiopia with respect to variation in climate, socioeconomic factors, and land-use at the local level.

The Regional Security Game is a iterated public goods game with punishement based on based on life sciences work by Boyd et al. (2003 ) and Hintze & Adami (2015 ), with modifications appropriate for an international relations setting. The game models a closed regional system in which states compete over the distribution of common security benefits. Drawing on recent work applying cultural evolutionary paradigms in the social sciences, states learn through imitation of successful strategies rather than making instrumentally rational choices. The model includes the option to fit empirical data to the model, with two case studies included: Europe in 1933 on the verge of war and south-east Asia in 2013.

Spatial model of the noisy Prisoner's Dilemma with reward shift

Matus Halas | Published Thu Mar 5 16:17:54 2015 | Last modified Tue May 29 09:09:01 2018

Interactions of players embedded in a closed square lattice are determined by distance and overall gains and they lead to shifts of reward payoff between temptation and punishment. A new winner balancing against threats is ultimately discovered.

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