Computational Model Library

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).

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 SimPioN model aims to abstractly reproduce and experiment with the conditions under which a path-dependent process may lead to a (structural) network lock-in in interorganisational networks.

Path dependence theory is constructed around a process argumentation regarding three main elements: a situation of (at least) initially non-ergodic (unpredictable with regard to outcome) starting conditions in a social setting; these become reinforced by the workings of (at least) one positive feedback mechanism that increasingly reduces the scope of conceivable alternative choices; and that process finally results in a situation of lock-in, where any alternatives outside the already adopted options become essentially impossible or too costly to pursue despite (ostensibly) better options theoretically being available.

The purpose of SimPioN is to advance our understanding of lock-ins arising in interorganisational networks based on the network dynamics involving the mechanism of social capital. This mechanism and the lock-ins it may drive have been shown above to produce problematic consequences for firms in terms of a loss of organisational autonomy and strategic flexibility, especially in high-tech knowledge-intensive industries that rely heavily on network organising.

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.

The O.R.E. (Opinions on Risky Events) model describes how a population of interacting individuals process information about a risk of natural catastrophe. The institutional information gives the official evaluation of the risk; the agents receive this communication, process it and also speak to each other processing further the information. The description of the algorithm (as it appears also in the paper) can be found in the attached file OREmodel_description.pdf.
The code (ORE_model.c), written in C, is commented. Also the datasets (inputFACEBOOK.txt and inputEMAILs.txt) of the real networks utilized with this model are available.

For any questions/requests, please write me at [email protected]

Peer reviewed Emergence of Organizations out of Garbage Can Dynamics

Guido Fioretti | Published Mon Apr 20 22:44:34 2020 | Last modified Sun Apr 26 12:54:56 2020

The Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice (GCM) is a fundamental model of organizational decision-making originally propossed by J.D. Cohen, J.G. March and J.P. Olsen in 1972. In their model, decisions are made out of random meetings of decision-makers, opportunities, solutions and problems within an organization.
With this model, these very same agents are supposed to meet in society at large where they make decisions according to GCM rules. Furthermore, under certain additional conditions decision-makers, opportunities, solutions and problems form stable organizations. In this artificial ecology organizations are born, grow and eventually vanish with time.

Peer reviewed The Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice

Guido Fioretti | Published Mon Apr 20 21:34:57 2020 | Last modified Thu Apr 23 18:55:40 2020

The Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice is a fundamental model of organizational decision-making originally proposed by J.D. Cohen, J.G. March and J.P. Olsen in 1972. In the 2000s, G. Fioretti and A. Lomi presented a NetLogo agent-based interpretation of this model. This code is the NetLogo 6.1.1 updated version of the Fioretti-Lomi model.

We reconstruct Cohen, March and Olsen’s Garbage Can model of organizational choice as an agent-based model. We add another means for avoiding making decisions: buck-passing difficult problems to colleagues.

Peer reviewed Neighbor Influenced Energy Retrofit (NIER) agent-based model

Eric Boria | Published Fri Apr 3 02:19:28 2020

The NIER model is intended to add qualitative variables of building owner types and peer group scales to existing energy efficiency retrofit adoption models. The model was developed through a combined methodology with qualitative research, which included interviews with key stakeholders in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The concepts that the NIER model adds to traditional economic feasibility studies of energy retrofit decision-making are differences in building owner types (reflecting strategies for managing buildings) and peer group scale (neighborhoods of various sizes and large-scale Districts). Insights from the NIER model include: large peer group comparisons can quickly raise the average energy efficiency values of Leader and Conformist building owner types, but leave Stigma-avoider owner types as unmotivated to retrofit; policy interventions such as upgrading buildings to energy-related codes at the point of sale can motivate retrofits among the lowest efficient buildings, which are predominantly represented by the Stigma-avoider type of owner; small neighborhood peer groups can successfully amplify normal retrofit incentives.

Political Participation

Didier Ruedin | Published Sat Apr 12 23:07:27 2014 | Last modified Tue Apr 14 19:59:31 2020

Implementation of Milbrath’s (1965) model of political participation. Individual participation is determined by stimuli from the political environment, interpersonal interaction, as well as individual characteristics.

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