Microsimulation of Rural Households
Microsimulation (MSM) is a technique that aims at modelling the likely behaviour of individual persons, households, or individual firms. In these models, agents represent members of a population for the purpose of studying how individual (i.e. micro-) behaviour generates aggregate (i.e. macro-) regularities from the bottom-up (e.g. Epstein, Complexity 4: 41–60, 1999). This results in a natural instrument to anticipate trends in the environment by means of monitoring and early warning, as well as to predict and value the short-term and long-term consequences of implementing certain policy measures (Saarloos, A Framework for a Multi-Agent Planning Support System, PhD thesis, Eindhoven University Press Facilities, Eindhoven, 2006). The simulations can be helpful in showing (a bandwidth of) spatial dynamics, especially if linked to geographical information systems. In this chapter, the development of the spatial MSM model SIMtown will be described. This model simulates the total population of Nunspeet and Oudewater, including a large number of household characteristics, several of which are relevant to predict the shopping behaviour. In the second part of the chapter, the simulated micropopulation will be used to show household characteristics which were previously not available and which are useful for local policy makers.
KeywordsConstraint Variable Shopping Behaviour Synthetic Population Young Household Planning Support System
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