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This simulation investigates the provision and receipt of social care in a simulated UK population. Agents may decide to provide care, either informally or by paying for private carers, when a member of their kinship network exhibits care need. Care-giving decisions are informed by agents’ health status, employment status, closeness of their relationship to the affected agent, and geographical proximity. Agents may undergo various life-course transitions, including partnership formation and dissolution, migrating domestically, having children, and changing jobs. The results indicate that the model produces realistic patterns of care provision and receipt, despite the relative paucity of empirical data to inform the model.
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.