A Demographic Microsimulation Model Using NetLogo

Lawson, Tony (2009) A Demographic Microsimulation Model Using NetLogo. Working paper. Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI), Colchester.

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    Dynamic microsimulation modelling has become a well-established method of forecasting demographic change. This has led to important applications in areas such as estimating future tax revenues and anticipating pension and health costs. These models are complex and costly to implement and this may be one factor that has hampered the more widespread application of microsimulation modelling. This paper reports a study of the feasibility of using a high level scripting language (Netlogo) to implement a dynamic microsimulation model using an initial population drawn from the 1991 British Household Panel survey. The model was validated by running it for a number of simulated years (1991-2005) and then comparing the predicted population against the actual population observed in the BHPS. It was found that NetLogo made a suitable platform for developing a dynamic microsimulation model and the in-built features for manipulating the collection of agents and the graphical user interface have the potential for simplifying some aspects of developing a dynamic microsimulation model.