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Strategic Modelling and Business Dynamics: A feedback systems approach, + Website, 2nd Edition by John D. W. Morecroft

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CHAPTER 9 Public Sector Applications of Strategic Modelling

Many system dynamics models have been built to address public policy issues. The topics read like a list of political speeches: health care reform, prison overcrowding, drug-related crime, transportation, urban renewal, environmental policy, energy policy and fisheries regulation. In this chapter, we sample three topics from this manifesto to illustrate how models and simulators are used in public policy and their impact on political debate. We begin with Urban Dynamics (Forrester, 1969), a classic system dynamics study of stagnation and economic decline in cities. Then we turn to health care reform and a model that examines the impact on patient care of changes to the working practices of junior hospital doctors. Finally, we return to fisheries, with a simulator to explain the paradox of over-fishing and to examine regulatory policy.

While describing these applications, I will take the opportunity to review basic modelling principles. The urban dynamics model illustrates the art of model conceptualisation. Although we touch just lightly on the model, the elegance of the conceptual model will be apparent. The medical workforce dynamics model illustrates formulation principles, the modelling of intangibles and the interpretation ...

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