Complex Systems in Finance and Econometrics

2011 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers (Editor-in-Chief)

Public Policy, System Dynamics Applications to

  • David F. Andersen
  • Eliot Rich
  • Roderick MacDonald
Reference work entry

Article Outline


Definition of the Subject


Medical Malpractice: A System Dynamics and Public Policy Vignette

What Is System Dynamics Modeling?

How Is System Dynamics Used to Support Public Policy and Management?

System Dynamics and Models: A Range of Analytic Scope and Products

What Are the Arenas in Which System Dynamics Models Are Used?

What Are some of the Substantive Areas Where System Dynamics Has Been Applied?

Evaluating the Effectiveness of System Dynamics Models in Supporting the Public Policy Process

Summary: System Dynamics – A Powerful Tool to Support Public Policy

Future Directions



System Dynamics Model Medical Malpractice Cost Overrun Shared Mental Model Public Policy Issue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


Primary Literature

  1. 1.
    Ackermann F, Eden C, Williams T (1997) Modeling for Litigation: Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Interfaces 27(2):48–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Akkermans H, Vennix J (1997) Clients' Opinions on Group Model‐Building: An Exploratory Study. Syst Dyn Rev 13(1):3–31Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Alfeld L, Graham A (1976) Introduction to Urban Dynamics. Wright‐Allen Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Andersen D (1990) Analyzing Who Gains and Who Loses: The Case of School Finance Reform in New York State. Syst Dyn Rev 6(1):21–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Andersen D, Emmerichs R (1982) Analyzing US Military Retirement Policies. Simulation 39(5):151–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Andersen D, Richardson GP (1997) Scripts For Group Model Building. Syst Dyn Rev 13(2):107–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Andersen D, Bryson J, Richardson GP, Ackermann F, Eden C, Finn C (2006) Integrating Modes of Systems Thinking into Strategic Planning Education and Practice: The Thinking Persons' Institute Approach. J Public Aff Educ 12(3):265–293Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bakken B, Gilljam M (2003) Dynamic Intuition in Military Command and Control: Why it is Important, and How It Should be Developed. Cogn Technol Work (5):197–205Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Barlas Y (2002) System Dynamics: Systemic Feedback Modeling for Policy Analysis. In: Knowledge for Sustainable Development, an Insight into the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, vol 1. UNESCO‐EOLSS, Oxford, pp 1131–1175 Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Barney G (1982) The Global 2000 Report to the President: Entering the Twenty‐First Century. Penguin, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cavana RY, Clifford L (2006) Demonstrating the utility for system dynamics for public policy analysis in New Zealand: the case for excise tax policy on tobacco. Syst Dyn Rev 22(4):321–348Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cavana RY, Davies P et al (1999) Drivers of Quality in Health Services: Different Worldviews of Clinicians and Policy Managers Revealed. Syst Dyn Rev 15(3):331–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cavana RY, Ford A (2004) Environmental and Resource Systems: Editor's Introduction. Syst Dyn Rev 20(2):89–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Cavana RY, Boyd D, Taylor R (2007) A Systems Thinking Study of Retnetion and Recruitment Issues for the New Zealand Army Electronic Technician Trade Group. Syst Res Behav Sci 24(2):201–216 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chen F, Andersen D et al (1981) A Preliminary System Dynamics Model of the Allocation of State Aid to Education. Dynamica 7(1):2–13Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Clark R (1981) Readiness as a Residual of Resource Allocation Decisions. Def Manag J 1:20–24Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Clark R (1987) Defense Budget Instability and Weapon System Acquisition. Public Budg Financ 7(2):24–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Clark R (1993) The Dynamics of US Force Reduction and Reconstitution. Def Anal 9(1):51–68Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Clark T, McCullough B et al (1980) A Conceptual Model of the Effects of Department of Defense Realignments. Behav Sci 25(2):149–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Cooper K (1980) Naval Ship Production: A Claim Settled and Framework Built. Interfaces 10(6):20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Coyle RG (1992) A System Dynamics Model of Aircraft Carrier Survivability. Syst Dyn Rev 8(3):193–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Coyle RG (1996) System Dynamics Modelling: A Practical Approach. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Creative Learning Exchange (2000) Road Maps: A Guide to Learning System Dynamics. Available at
  24. 24.
    Davidsen P (1996) Educational Features of the System Dynamics Approach to Modelling and Learning. J Struct Learn 12(4):269–290Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Fiddaman TS (2002) Exploring Policy Options with a Behavioral Climate‐Economy Model. Syst Dyn Rev 18(2):243–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Finely B (2006) Migrant Cases Burden System: Rise in Deportations Floods Detention Centers, Courts. Denver Post, 10/2/06:
  27. 27.
    Fisher D (2001) Lessons in Mathematics: A Dynamic Approach. iSee Systems, LebanonGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Fisher D (2004) Modeling Dynamic Systems: Lessons for a First Course. iSee Systems, LebanonGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Flessa S (1999) Decision Support for Malaria‐Control Programmes – a System Dynamics Model. Health Care Manag Sci 2(3):181–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ford A (1997) System Dynamics and the Electric Power Industry. Syst Dyn Rev 13(1):57–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ford A (1999) Modeling the Environment: An Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling of Environmental Systems. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Forsyth B, Hirsch G et al (1976) Projecting a Teaching Hospital's Future Utilization: A Dynamic Simulation Approach. J Med Educ 51(11):937–9Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Forrester J (1961) Industrial Dynamics. Pegasus Communications, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Forrester J (1969) Urban Dynamics. Pegasus Communications, WalthamGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Forrester J (1971) World Dynamics. Pegasus Communications, WalthamGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Forrester J (1980) Information Sources for Modeling the National Economy. J Am Stat Assoc 75(371):555–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Forrester J (1993) System Dynamics as an Organizing Framework for Pre‐College Education. Syst Dyn Rev 9(2):183–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Forrester J (1994) Policies, Decisions, and Information Sources for Modeling. Modeling for Learning Organizations. In: Morecroft J, Sterman J (eds) Productivity Press. Portland, OR, pp 51–84Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Forrester J, Senge P (1980) Tests for Building Confidence in System Dynamics Models. In: Legasto Jr. AA et al (eds) System Dynamics. North‐Holland, New York, 14, pp 209–228Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Galbraith P (1989) Mathematics Education and the Future: A Long Wave View of Change. Learn Math 8(3):27–33Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Graham A, Morecroft J et al (1992) Model Supported Case Studies for Management Education. Eur J Oper Res 59(1):151–166Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Homer J, Roberts E et al (1982) A Systems View of the Smoking Problem. Int J Biomed Comput 13 69–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Homer J, St Clair C (1991) A Model of HIV Transmission Through Needle Sharing. A Model Useful in Analyzing Public Policies, Such as a Needle Cleaning Campaign. Interfaces 21(3):26–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Hopkins P (1992) Simulating Hamlet in the Classroom. Syst Dyn Rev 8(1):91–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Huz S, Andersen D, Richardson GP, Boothroyd R (1997) A Framework for Evaluating Systems Thinking Interventions: An Experimental Approach to Mental Health System Change. Syst Dyn Rev 13(2)149–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Jones A, Seville D et al (2002) Resource Sustainability in Commodity Systems: The Sawmill Industry in the Northern Forest. Syst Dyn Rev 18(2):171–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Keys B, Wolfe J (1996) The Role of Management Games and Simulations in Education Research. J Manag 16(2):307–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Lane DC, Monefeldt C, Rosenhead JV (1998) Emergency – But No Accident – A System Dynamics Study of an accident and emergency department. OR Insight 11(4):2–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Levin G, Roberts E (eds) (1976) The Dynamics of Human Service Delivery. Ballinger, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Levin G, Hirsch G, Roberts E (1975) The Persistent Poppy: A Computer Aided Search for Heroin Policy. Ballinger, Cambridge Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Lopez T, Watson J Jr (1979) A System Dynamics Simulation Model of the U. S. Marine Corps Manpower System. Dynamica 5(2):57–78Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Luna-Reyes L, Martinez‐Moyano I, Pardo T, Creswell A, Richardson GP, Andersen D (2007) Anatomy of a Group Model Building Intervention: Building Dynamic Theory from Case Study Research. Syst Dyn Rev 22(4):291–320Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Maani KE, Cavana RY (2007) Systems Thinking, System Dynamics: Managing Change and Complexity. Pearson Education (NZ) Ltd, AucklandGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    MacDonald R et al (2007) System Dynamics Public Policy Literature. Syst Dyn Soc,
  55. 55.
    Mandinach E, Cline H (1993) Systems, Science, and Schools. Syst Dyn Rev 9(2):195–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Mashayekhi A (1977) Economic Planning and Growth of Education in Developing Countries. Simulation 29(6):189–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Mashayekhi A (1998) Public Finance, Oil Revenue Expenditure and Economic Performance: A Comparative Study of Four Countries. Syst Dyn Rev 14(2–3):189–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Mass N (ed) (1974) Readings in Urban Dynamics. Wright‐Allen Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Meadows D, Beherens W III, Meadows D, Nail R, Randers J, Zahn E (ed) (1974) Dynamics of Growth in a Finite World. Pegasus Communications, WalthamGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Meadows D, Meadows D (1977) Towards Global Equilibrium: Collected Papers. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Meadows D, Meadows D, Randers J (1972) The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind. Universe Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Meadows D, Meadows D, Randers J (1992) Beyond the Limits. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, Post MillsGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Meadows D, Randers J, Meadows D (2004) Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, White River JunctionGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Miyakawa T (ed) (1999) The Science of Public Policy: Essential Readings in Policy Sciences 1. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Morecroft J (2007) Strategic Modelling and Business Dynamics: A Feedback Systems Approach. Wiley, West SussexGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Naill R (1977) Managing the Energy Transition. Ballinger Publishing Co, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Otto P, Struben J (2004) Gloucester Fishery: Insights from a Group Modeling Intervention. Syst Dyn Rev 20(4):287–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Reagan‐Cirincione P, Shuman S, Richardson GP, Dorf S (1991) Decision modeling: Tools for Strategic Thinking. Interfaces 21(6):52–65 Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Richardson GP (1991) System Dynamics: Simulation for Policy Analysis from a Feedback Perspective. In: Fishwick P, Luker P (eds) Qualitative Simulation Modeling and Analysis. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Richardson GP (1996) System Dynamics. In: Gass S, Harris C (eds) Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science. Kluwer Academic Publishers, NorwellGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Richardson G, Andersen D (1979) Teaching for Research in System Dynamics. Dynamica 5(3)Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Richardson G, Andersen D (1995) Teamwork in Group Model Building. Syst Dyn Rev 11(2):113–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Richardson G, Lamitie R (1989) Improving Connecticut School Aid: A Case Study with Model-Based Policy Analysis. J Educ Financ 15(2):169–188Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Richardson G, Pugh J (1981) Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling. Pegasus Communications, WalthamGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Richmond B (1997) The Strategic Forum: Aligning Objectives Strategy and Process. Syst Dyn Rev 13(2):131–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Roberts C, Dangerfield B (1990) Modelling the Epidemiological Consequences of HIV Infection and AIDS: a Contribution from Operational Research. J Oper Res Soc 41(4):273–289Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Roberts N (1983) An Introductory Curriculum in System Dynamics. Dynamica 9(1):40–42Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Roberts N, Andersen DF, Deal RM, Grant MS, Schaffer WA (1983) Introduction to Computer Simulation: a System Dynamics Modeling Approach. Addison Wesley, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Rohrbaugh J (2000) The Use of System Dynamics in Decision Conferencing: Implementing Welfare Reform in New York State. In: Garson G (ed) Handbook of Public Information Systems. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 521–533Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Rouwette E (2003) Group Model Building as Mutual Persuasion. Wolf Legal Publishers, NijmegenGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Rouwette E, Vennix J, Van Mullekom T (2002) Group Model Building Effectiveness: a Review of Assessment Studies. Syst Dyn Rev 18(1):5–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Saeed K (1994) Development Planning and Policy Design: A System Dynamics Approach. Ashgate, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Saeed K (1996) The Dynamics of Collegial Systems in the Developing Countries. High Educ Policy 9(1):75–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Saeed K (1998) Towards Sustainable Development, 2nd Edition: Essays on System Analysis of National Policy. Ashgate, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Saeed K (2003) Articulating Developmental Problems for Policy Intervention: A System Dynamics Modeling Approach. Simul Gaming 34(3):409–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. 86.
    Saysel A, Barlas Y et al (2002) Environmental Sustainability in an Agricultural Development Project: A System Dynamics Approach. J Environ Manag 64(3):247–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. 87.
    Senge P (1990) The Fifth Discipline: the Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Doubleday/Currency, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  88. 88.
    Senge P, Asay D (1988) Rethinking the Healthcare System. Healthc Reform J 31(3):32–34, 44–45 5Google Scholar
  89. 89.
    Stave K (2002) Using SD to Improve Public Participation in Environment Decisions. Syst Dyn Rev 18(2):139–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. 90.
    Steed M (1992) Stella, a Simulation Construction Kit: Cognitive Process and Educational Implications. J Comput Math Sci Teach 11(1):39–52Google Scholar
  91. 91.
    Stenberg L (1980) A Modeling Procedure for the Public Policy Scene. In: Randers J (ed) Elements of the System Dynamics Method. Pegasus Communications, Waltham, pp 257–288Google Scholar
  92. 92.
    Sterman J (1988) People Express Management Flight Simulator: Simulation Game, Briefing Book, and Simulator Guide.
  93. 93.
    Sterman J (1992) Teaching Takes Off: Flight Simulators for Management Education. OR/MS Today (October):40–44Google Scholar
  94. 94.
    Sterman J (1996) A Skeptic's Guide to Computer Models. In: Richardson GP (ed) Modelling for Management. Dartmouth Publishing Company, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  95. 95.
    Sterman J (2000) Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World. Irwin/McGraw‐Hill, BostonGoogle Scholar
  96. 96.
    Taylor K, Lane D (1998) Simulation Applied to Health Services: Opportunities for Applying the System Dynamics Approach. J Health Serv Res Policy 3(4):226–232Google Scholar
  97. 97.
    van Ackere A, Smith P (1999) Towards a Macro Model of National Health Service Waiting Lists. Syst Dyn Rev 15(3):225–253Google Scholar
  98. 98.
    Vennix J (1996) Group model building: Facilitating team learning using system dynamics. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  99. 99.
    Waggoner M (1984) The New Technologies versus the Lecture Tradition in Higher Education: Is Change Possible? Educ Technol 24(3):7–13Google Scholar
  100. 100.
    Warren K (1999) Dynamics of Strategy. Bus Strateg Rev 10(3):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. 101.
    Warren K (2002) Competitive Strategy Dynamics. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  102. 102.
    Warren K (2005) Improving Strategic Management with the Fundamental Principles of System Dynamics. Syst Dyn Rev 21(4):329–350 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. 103.
    Wils A, Kamiya M et al (1998) Threats to Sustainability: Simulating Conflict Within and Between Nations. Syst Dyn Rev 14(2–3):129–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. 104.
    Wolstenholme E (1992) The Definition and Application of a Stepwise Approach to Model Conceptualization and Analysis. Eur J Oper Res 59(1):123–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. 105.
    Wolstenholme E (1993) A Case Study in Community Care Using Systems Thinking. J Oper Res Soc 44(9):925–934Google Scholar
  106. 106.
    Wolstenholme E (1999) A Patient Flow Perspective of UK Health Services: Exploring the Case for New Intermediate Care Initiatives. Syst Dyn Rev 15(3):253–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. 107.
    Wolstenholme E, Coyle RG (1983) The Development of System Dynamics as a Methodology for System Description and Qualitative Analysis. J Oper Res Soc 34(7):569–581Google Scholar
  108. 108.
    Zagonel A, Andersen D, Richardson GP, Rohrbaugh J (2004) Using Simulation Models to Address “What If” Questions about Welfare Reform. J Policy Anal Manag 23(4):890–901CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Books and Reviews

  1. 109.
    Coyle RG (1998) The Practice of System Dynamics: Milestones, Lessons and Ideas from 30 Years of Experience. Syst Dyn Rev 14(4):343–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 110.
    Forrester J (1961) Industrial Dynamics. Pegasus Communications, WalthamGoogle Scholar
  3. 111.
    Maani KE, Cavana RY (2007) Systems Thinking, System Dynamics: Managing Change and Complexity. Pearson Education (NZ) Ltd, AucklandGoogle Scholar
  4. 112.
    MacDonald R (1998) Reducing Traffic Safety Deaths: A System Dynamics Perspective. In: 16th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Quebec '98, System Dynamics Society Quebec CityGoogle Scholar
  5. 113.
    Morecroft JDW, Sterman JD (eds) (1994) Modeling for Learning Organizations, System Dynamics Series. Productivity Press, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  6. 114.
    Wolstenholme EF (1990) System Enquiry: A System Dynamics Approach. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David F. Andersen
    • 1
  • Eliot Rich
    • 2
  • Roderick MacDonald
    • 3
  1. 1.Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and PolicyUniversity at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.School of BusinessUniversity at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.Initiative for System Dynamics in the Public SectorUniversity at AlbanyAlbanyUSA