Policy Models and Policy Making – Nigel Gilbert

As this conference demonstrates, there is a lot of work ongoing to build computational models to address questions of public policy. In most cases, the ultimate aim of these models is to make an impact on policy, by making the policy more effective, less costly, more equitable, and so on. But there is still a big gap between the construction of policy models by the social simulation community and their use by policy makers to help design or evaluate policy. In this talk, I shall argue that in order to close this gap, we need a better understanding of what is involved in making policy, and where and how policy models could infiltrate the policy making process. The talk will be illustrated with some failures and a few successes in the application of models to policy making, and review some current theories from political science about how public policy is made.

About Nigel Gilbert

Professor Nigel Gilbert was one of the first to use agent-based models in the social sciences, in the early 1990s, and has since published widely on the methodology underlying computer modelling, and on the application of simulation for applied problems such as understanding commercial innovation, managing environmental resources such as energy and water, and supporting public policy decision-making. He founded and is Director of the Centre for Research in Social Simulation.

He was the founding editor of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation and is a past President of ESSA. He is the author of Agent-Based Models (Sage, 2008, second edition forthcoming, 2020), a co-author of Simulation for the Social Scientist (2005), and the editor of Computational Social Science (Sage, 2010).

He leads the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN), which brings together mathematicians, computer scientists, environmental scientists and social scientists to develop and test methods for the evaluation of complex public policies.