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Identify any bias in your research and discuss it. If you are unable to find bias in your research, discuss the bias in a sample case study from the readings for the week.

 the paper should be approximately 500 words and demonstrate proper APA formatting and style. You need to include a cover page to include your name, assignment title, and page number in the running header of each page. Your paper should include a minimum of two references from your unit readings and assigned research; the sources should be appropriately cited throughout your paper and in your reference list. Use meaningful section headings to clarify the organization and readability of your paper

Nigel Gilbert1, Petra Ahrweiler2, Pete Barbrook-Johnson1, Kavin

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1Department of Sociology, University of Surrey Guildford, GU2 7XH United Kingdom
3Risk Solutions, Dallam Court, Dallam Lane, Warrington, Cheshire, WA2 7LT, United Kingdom
Correspondence should be addressed to

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 21(1) 14, 2018
Doi: 10.18564/jasss.3669 Url:

Received: 11-01-2018 Accepted: 11-01-2018 Published: 31-01-2018

Abstract: Computationalmodelsare increasinglybeingusedtoassist indeveloping, implementingandevalu-
ating public policy. This paper reports on the experience of the authors in designing and using computational
models of public policy (‘policy models’, for short). The paper considers the role of computational models in
policy making, and some of the challenges that need to be overcome if policy models are to make an e�ec-
tive contribution. It suggests that policy models can have an important place in the policy process because
they could allow policy makers to experiment in a virtual world, and have many advantages compared with
randomised control trials and policy pilots. The paper then summarises some general lessons that can be ex-
tractedfromtheauthors’experiencewithpolicymodelling. Thesegeneral lessonsincludetheobservationthat
rather than the numbers it generates; that care needs to be taken that models are designed at an appropriate
level of abstraction; that although appropriate data for calibration and validation may sometimes be in short
supply, modelling is o�en still valuable; that modelling collaboratively and involving a range of stakeholders
from the outset increases the likelihood that the model will be used and will be fit for purpose; that attention
lic policy involves ethical issues that need careful consideration. The paper concludes that policy modelling
will continue to grow in importance as a component of public policy making processes, but if its potential is to
befullyrealised, therewillneedtobeameldingoftheculturesofcomputationalmodellingandpolicymaking.

Keywords: Policy Modelling, Policy Evaluation, Policy Appraisal, Modelling Guidelines, Collaboration, Ethics

  • Introduction
  • 1.1 Computationalmodelshavebeenusedtoassist indeveloping, implementingandevaluatingpublicpoliciesfor
    at least threedecades,but theirpotential remainstobefullyexploited(Johnston&Desouza2015;Anzolaetal.
    2017;Barbrook-Johnsonetal.2017). Inthispaper,usingaselectionofexamplesofcomputationalmodelsused
    in public policy processes, we (i) consider the roles of models in policy making, (ii) explore policy making as a
    ofmodels. Wealsohighlightsomeof thechallengesandopportunities facingsuchmodelsandtheiruse inthe
    future. Ouraimistosupportthemodellingcommunitythatreadsthisjournalinitse�orttobuildcomputational
    models of public policy that are valuable and useful.

    1.2 Webelievethise�ortistimelygiventhatcomputationalmodels,ofthetypethisjournalregularlyreportson,are
    now increasingly used by government, business, and civil society as well as in academic communities (Hauke
    etal.2017). Therearemanyguidestocomputationalmodellingproducedfordi�erentcommunities, forexam-
    ple in UK government the ‘Aqua Book’ (reviewed for JASSS in Edmonds (2016)), but these are o�en aimed at
    practitioner and government audiences, can be highly procedural and technical, generally omit discussion of
    failure and rarely include deeper reflections on how best to model for public policy. Our aim here is to fill gaps

    JASSS, 21(1) 14, 2018 Doi: 10.18564/jasss.3669

    le�bytheseformalguides, toprovidereflectionsaimedatmodellers, touseaselectionofexamplestoexplore
    issues in an accessible way, and acknowledge failures and learning from them.

    1.3 We focus only on computational models that aim to model, or include some modelling of, social processes.
    Although some of the discussion may apply, we are not directly considering computational models that are
    purelyecologicalortechnical intheir focus,orsimplermodelssuchasspreadsheetswhichmayimplicitlycover
    Although ‘computational models of public policy’ is the full and accurate term, and others o�en use ‘compu-
    tational policy models’, for the sake of brevity, we will use the term ‘policy models’ throughout the rest of this

    1.4 Based on our experience, our main recommendations are that policy modelling needs to be conducted with
    a strong appreciation of the context in which models will be used, and with a concern for their fitness for the
    purposes for which they are designed and the conclusions drawn from them. Moreover, policy modelling is
    almost always likely to be of low or no value if done without strong and iterative engagement with the users
    of the model outputs, i.e. decision makers. Modellers must engage with users in a deep, meaningful, ethically
    informed and iterative way.

    1.5 In the remainder of this paper, Section 2 introduces the role of policy models in policy making. Section 3 ex-
    ploresthe ideaofpolicymakingasatypeofexperimentation inrelationtopolicymodelexperiments. Wethen
    make policy modelling more e�ective (Section 5). Finally, Section 6 concludes and discusses some key next
    steps and other opportunities for computational policy modellers.

    TheRoleofModels inPolicyMaking

    2.1 Thestandard, butnow somewhatdiscreditedview ofpolicy making is that itoccurs incycles (forexample, see
    the seminal arguments made in Lindblom 1959 and Lindblom 1979; and more recently o�icial recognition in
    HM Treasury 2013). A policy problem comes to light, perhaps through the occurrence of some crisis, a media
    campaign, or as a response to a political event. This is the agenda setting stage and is followed by policy for-
    mulation, gathering support for the policy, implementing the policy, monitoring and evaluating the success of
    the policy and finally policy maintenance or termination. The cycle then starts again, as new needs or circum-
    stancesgeneratedemandsfornewpolicies. Althoughtheideaofapolicycyclehasthemeritofbeingaclearand
    straightforwardwayofconceptualisingthedevelopmentofpolicy, ithasbeencriticisedasbeingunrealisticand
    oversimplifying what happens, which is typically highly complex and contingent on multiple sources of pres-
    sureandinformation(Cairney2013;Moran2015),andevenself-organising (Byrne&Callaghan2014;Teisman&
    Klijn 2008).

    2.2 The idea of a cycle does, however, still help to identify the many components that make up the design and
    implementationofpolicy. Thereareat leasttwoareaswheremodelshaveaclearandimportantroletoplay: in
    policydesignandappraisal,andpolicyevaluation. Policyappraisal(asdefinedinHMTreasury2013,sometimes
    referred to as ex-ante evaluation, consists of assessing the relative merits of alternative policy prescriptions in
    meetingthepolicyobjectives. Appraisal findingsareakey input intopolicydesigndecisions. Policyevaluation
    either takes a summative approach, examining whether a policy has actually met its objectives (i.e. ex-post),
    or a more formative approach to see how a policy might be working, for whom and where (HM Treasury 2011).
    In the formative role, the key goal is learning to inform future iterations of the policy, and others with similar


    2.3 Whenusedex-ante,apolicymodelmaybeusedtoexploreapolicyoption,helpingtoidentifyandspecify inde-
    tailaconsistentpolicydesign(HMTreasury2013), forexampleby locatingwherebestapolicymight intervene,
    or by identifying possible synergies or conflicts between the mechanisms of multiple policies. Policy models
    can also be used to appraise alternative policies, to see which of several possibilities can be expected to yield
    the best or most robust outcome. In this mode, a policy model is in essence used to ‘experiment’ with alterna-
    tive policy options and assumptions about the system in which it is intervening, by changing the parameters
    or the rules in the model and observing what the outcomes are. This is valuable because it saves the time and
    costassociatedwithhavingtorunexperimentsorpilots intheactualpolicydomain. Thisconceptofthemodel
    as an experimental space is discussed in more detail in Section 3 below.

    JASSS, 21(1) 14, 2018 Doi: 10.18564/jasss.3669

    2.4 Thecommonassumptionisthatonebuildscomputationalmodels inordertomakepredictions. However,pre-
    Socialandeconomicphenomenaareo�encomplex (inthetechnicalsense,seee.g. Sawyer2005). Thismeans
    that how some process evolves depends on random chance, its previous history (‘path dependence’) and the
    e�ect of positive and negative feedback loops. Just as with the weather, for which exact forecasting is impos-
    sible more than a few days ahead, the future course of many social processes may be literally unknowable in
    detail, no matter how detailed the model may be. Secondly, a model is necessarily an abstraction from real-
    ity, and since it is impossible to isolate sections of society, from outside influences, there may be unexpected
    exogenous factors that have not been modelled and that a�ect the outcome.

    2.5 Forthesereasons, theabilitytomake‘pointpredictions’, i.e. forecastsofspecificvaluesataspecifictimeinthe
    future, is rarelypossible. Morepossible isapredictionthatsomeeventwillorwillnot takeplace,orqualitative
    statements about the type or direction of change of values. Understanding what sort of unexpected outcomes
    can emerge and something of the nature of how these arise also helps design policies that can be responsive
    tounexpectedoutcomeswhentheydoarise. Itcanbeparticularlyhelpful inchangingenvironmentstousethe
    model to explore what might happen under a range of possible, but di�erent, potential futures – without any
    commitment about which of these may eventually transpire. Even more valuable is a finding that the model
    shows that certain outcomes could not be achieved given the assumptions of the model. An example of this is
    the use of a whole system energy model to develop scenarios that meet the decarbonisation goals set by the
    EU for 2050 (see, for example, RAENG 2015.)

    2.6 Ratherdi�erent fromusingmodels tomakepredictionsorgeneratescenarios is theuseofmodels to formalise
    and clarify understanding of the processes at work in some domain. If this is done carefully, the model may be
    valuable as a training or communication tool, demonstrating the mechanisms at work in a policy domain and
    how they interact.


    2.7 To evaluate a policy ex-post, one needs to compare what happened a�er the policy has been implemented
    against what would have happened in the absence of the policy (the ‘counterfactual’). To do this, one needs
    data about the real situation (with the policy evaluation) and data about the situation if the policy had not
    been implemented (the so-called ‘business as usual’ situation). To obtain the latter, one can use a randomised
    control trial (RCT) or quasi-experiment (HM Treasury 2011), but this is o�en di�icult, expensive and sometimes
    impossibletocarryoutduetothenatureoftheinterventionbarringpossibilityofcreatingcontrolgroups(e.g. a
    schemewhichisaccessibletoall,orapolicy inwhichlocal implementationdecisionsare impossibletocontrol
    and have a strong e�ect).

    2.8 Policy models o�er some alternatives. One is to develop a computational model and run simulations with and
    without implementation of a policy, and then compare formally the two model outcomes with each other and
    with reality (with the policy implemented), using quantitative analysis. This avoids the problems of having to
    establish a real-world counterfactual. Once again, the policy model is being used in place of an experiment.

    2.9 Anotheralternative is tousemorequalitativeSystemMappingtypeapproaches(e.g. FuzzyCognitiveMapping;
    seeUprichard&Penn2016), tobuildqualitativemodelswithdi�erentstructuresandassumptions(torepresent
    the situation with and without the intervention), and again interrogate the di�erent outcomes of the model

    2.10 Finally, another use in ex-post evaluation is to use models to refine and test the theory of how policies might
    have a�ected an outcome of interest, i.e. to support common theory-based approaches to evaluation such as
    Theory of Change (see Clark & Taplin 2012), and Logic Mapping (see Hills 2010).

    2.11 Interrogation of models and model results can be done quantitatively (i.e. through multiple simulations, sen-
    sitivity analysis, and ‘what if’ tests), but may also be done in qualitative and participatory fashion with stake-
    holders, with stakeholders involved in the actual analysis (as opposed to just being shown the results). The
    choice should be driven by the purpose of the modelling process, and the needs of stakeholders. In both ex-
    ante and ex-post evaluation, policy models can be powerful tools to use as a route for engaging and informing
    stakeholders, including the public, about policies and their implications (Voinov & Bousquet 2010). This may
    beby includingstakeholders intheprocess, decisions, andvalidationofmodeldesign; or itmaybe later in the
    process, inusingtheresultsofamodel toopenupdiscussionswithstakeholders,and/orevenusingthemodel
    ‘live’ to explore connections between assumptions, scenarios, and outcomes (Johnson 2015a).

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    Di�iculties intheuseofmodelling

    2.12 While, in principle, policy models have all these roles and potential benefits, experience shows that it can be
    di�icult to achieve them (see Taylor 2003; Kolkman et al. 2016, and Section 4 for some examples). The policy
    process has many characteristics that can make it di�icult to incorporate modelling successfully, including1:

    • The need for acceptability and transparency: policy makers may fall back on more traditional and more
    widelyacceptedformsofevidence,especiallywheretherisksassociatedwiththedecisionarehigh. Mod-
    on assumptions that are di�icult to validate. Analysts and researchers in government o�en have little
    autonomy, and although they may see the value of policy models, it can be di�icult for them to commu-
    nicate this to the decision-makers.

    • Changeanduncertainty: theenvironment inwhichthepolicywillbe implemented,maybehighlyuncer-
    tain, this can undermine model development when beliefs or decisions shi� as a result of the modelling
    process (although this is equally an important outcome and benefit of the modelling process), or other

    • Shorttimescales: thetimescalesassociatedwithpolicydecisionmakingarealmostalwaysrelativelyfast,
    and needs can be di�icult to predict, meaning it can be di�icult for computational modellers to provide
    timely support.

    • Procurement processes: o�en departments lack the capability and su�iciently flexible processes to pro-
    cure complex modelling.

    • Thepoliticalandpragmaticrealitiesofdecisionmaking: individuals’valuesandpoliticalvaluescanhold
    hugesway,eveninthefaceofempiricalevidence(letalonemodelling) thatmaycontradict theirview,or
    point towards policy which is politically impossible.

    • Stakeholders: There will be many di�erent stakeholders involved in developing, or a�ected by, policies.
    It will not be possible to engage all of these in the policy modelling process, and indeed policy makers
    may be wary of closely involving them in a participatory modelling process.

    2.13 These characteristics may also apply more widely to evidence and other forms of research and analysis. It is
    not our suggestion that these characteristics are inherently negative; they may be important and reasonable
    parts of the policy making process. The important thing to remember, as a modeller, is that a model can only,
    and should only, provide more information to the process, not a final decision for the policy process to simply


    3.1 Although the roles and uses of policy models are relatively well-described and understood, our perception is
    that there are still many areas where more use could be made of modelling and that a lack of familiarity with,
    and confidence in, policy modelling, is restricting its use. Potential users may question whether policy mod-
    elling in their domain is su�iciently scientifically established and mature to be safely applied to guiding real-
    world policies. The di�erence between applying policies to the real world and making experimental interven-
    tions in a policy model might be too big to generate any learning from the latter to inform the former.


    3.2 One response is to argue that actual policy implementations are themselves experimental interventions and
    are therefore of the same character as interventions in a policy model. Boeschen et al. (2017) propose that
    we live in “experimental societies” and that implementing policies is nothing but conducting “real-world ex-
    periments”. Real-world experiments are “a more or less legitimate, methodically guided or carelessly adopted
    social practice to start something new” (Krohn 2007, p. 344; own translation). Their outcomes immediately
    display “success or failure of a design process” (ibid., p. 347).

    3.3 A real-world experiment implements one solution for the policy design problem. It does not check for other
    possible solutions or alternative options, but at best monitors and responds to what is emerging in real time.

    JASSS, 21(1) 14, 2018 Doi: 10.18564/jasss.3669

    Implementing policies as a real-world experiment is therefore far from ideal and far removed from the idea of
    reversibility in the laboratory. In laboratory experiments the experimental system is isolated from its environ-
    ment in such a way that the e�ects of single parameters can be observed.

    3.4 One approach that tries to bridge the gap between the real-world and laboratory experiments is to conduct
    policypilots. Theuseofpolicypilots(Greenberg&Shroder1997;CabinetO�ice2003;Martin&Sanderson1999)
    as social experiments is fairly widespread. In a policy pilot, a policy change can be assessed against a coun-
    terfactual in a limited context before rolling it out for general implementation. In this way (a small number of)
    di�erent solutions can be tried out and evaluated, and learning fed back into policy design.

    3.5 A dominant method for policy pilots is the Randomised Control Trial (RCT) (Greenberg & Shroder 1997; Boruch
    1997), well-known from medical research, where a carefully selected treatment group is compared with a con-
    trol group that is not administered the treatment under scrutiny. RCTs can thus present a halfway house be-
    tween an idealised laboratory experiment and a real-world experiment. However, the claim that an RCT is ca-
    pableofreproducingalaboratorysituationwhererigoroustestingagainstacounterfactual ispossiblehasalso
    been contested (Cabinet O�ice 2003, p. 19). It is argued that in principle there is no possibility of social experi-
    mentsduetotherequirementofceterisparibus (i.e. inthesocialworld, it is impossibletohavetwoexperiments
    with everything equal but the one parameter under scrutiny); that the complex system-environment interac-
    tions that are necessary to adequately understand social systems cannot be reproduced in an RCT; and that
    random allocation is impossible in many domains, so that a ‘neutral’ counterfactual cannot be established.
    Moreover, itmaybeariskypoliticalstrategyorevenunethical toadministeracertainbenefit insomepilotcon-
    textbutnottothecorrespondingcontrolgroup. This isevenmorethecase if thepolicywouldputtheselected
    recipients at a disadvantage (Cabinet O�ice 2003, p. 17).

    3.6 Whileapilotcanbegoodforgatheringevidenceaboutasinglecase, itmightnotserveasagood‘one-size-fits-
    all’ role model for other cases in other contexts. Furthermore, it cannot say much about why or how the policy
    workedordidnotwork,ordecomposethe‘whatworks’questions into, ‘whatworks,where, forwhom,atwhat
    costs,andunderwhatconditions’? Therearealsomorepracticalproblemstoconsider,amongthemtime,sta�
    resources and budget. There is general agreement that a good pilot is costly, time-consuming, “administra-
    tively cumbersome” and in need of well-trained managing sta� (Cabinet O�ice 2003, p. 5). There is “a sense of
    the past (…): poorly designed studies; weak methodologies; impatient political masters; time pressures and
    unrealistic deadlines” (Seminar on Policy Pilots and Evaluation 2013, p. 11).

    3.7 Thus,policypilotscannotmeettheclaimtobeahappymediumbetweenlaboratoryexperiments,withtheiriso-
    environment interactions in real time. This is where computational policy modelling comes in.

    Policymodels forpolicyexperimentation

    3.8 Unlike policy pilots, computational policy models are able to work with ceteris paribus rules, random control,
    andnon-contaminatedcounterfactuals(seebelow). Usingpolicymodels,wecanexplorealternativesolutions,
    simplybytryingoutparametervariations inthemodel, andexperimentwithcontext-specificmodelsandwith
    short,mediumandlongtimehorizons. Furthermore,policymodelsareethicallyandpoliticallyneutraltobuild
    and run, though the use of their outcomes may not be.

    3.9 Unlikereal-worldandpolicypilots,policymodelsallowtheusertoinvestigatethefuture. Initiallythemodellers
    will seektoreproducethedatabasedescribingthe initialstateofareal-worldexperimentandthenextrapolate
    simulatedstructuresanddynamicsintothefuture. Atfirstabaselinescenariocanbederived: whatiftherewere
    no changes in the future? This is artificial and, for methodological reasons, boring: nothing much happens but
    incremental evolution, no event, no surprise, no intervention; changes can then be introduced.

    3.10 As with real-world experiments, modelling experiments enable recursive learning by stakeholders. Stakehold-
    ers can achieve system competence and practical skills through interacting with the model to learn ‘by doing’
    how to act in complex situations. With the model, it is not only possible to simulate the real-world experiment
    envisagedbutalsototestmultiplescenariosforpotential real-worldexperimentsviaextensiveparametervari-
    ations. The whole solution space can be checked, where future states are not only accessible but tractable.

    3.11 Thisdoesnotimplythatit ispossibletoobtainexactpredictionsforfuturestatesofcomplexsocialsystems(see
    the discussion on prediction above). Deciding under uncertainty has to be informed di�erently:

    “Experimenting under conditions of uncertainties of this kind, it appears, will be one of the most
    distinctivecharacteristicsofdecision-makinginfuturesocieties[…], theyimportandusemethods

    JASSS, 21(1) 14, 2018 Doi: 10.18564/jasss.3669

    of investigation and research. Among these are conceptual modelling of complex situations, com-
    puter simulation of possible futures, and – perhaps most promising – the turning of scenarios into
    ‘real-world experiments’” (Gross & Krohn 2005, p. 77).

    3.12 Regarding the continuum between the extremes of giving no consideration (e.g. with laboratory experiments)
    and full consideration (e.g. real-world experiments) to complex system-environment interactions, policy mod-
    elling experiments indeed sit somewhere in the (happy) middle. We would argue that, where the costs or risks
    associated with a policy change are high, and the context is complex, it is not only common sense to carry out
    policy modelling, but it would be unethical not to.


    4.1 Wehavediscussedtheroleofpolicymodels inabstractatsomelength, it isnowimportantto illustratetheuse
    of policy models using a number of examples of policy modelling drawn from our own experience. These have
    beenselectedtoo�erawiderangeoftypesofmodelandcontextsofapplication. Inthespiritofrecordingfailure
    as well as success, we mention not only the ultimate outcomes, but also some of the problems and challenges
    encountered along the way. In the next section, we shall draw out some general lessons from these examples.


    4.2 TheEuropean-fundedTELLMEproject focusedonhealthcommunicationassociatedwithinfluenzaepidemics.
    One output was a prototype agent-based model, intended to be used by health communicators to understand
    the potential e�ects of di�erent communication plans under various influenza epidemic scenarios (Figure 1).

    4.3 The basic structure of the model was determined by its purpose: to compare the potential e�ects of di�er-
    This requires two linked models: a behaviour model that simulates the way in which people respond to com-
    munication and make decisions about whether to vaccinate or adopt other protective behaviour, and an epi-
    demic model that simulates the spread of influenza. The key model entities are: (i) messages, which together
    implement the communication plans; (ii) individuals, who receive communication and make decisions about
    The major flow of influence is the e�ect that communication has on attitude and hence behaviour, which af-
    fects epidemic transmission and hence incidence. Incidence contributes to perceived risk, which influences
    behaviourandestablishesafeedbackrelationship(seeBadham&Gilbert2015forthedetailedspecification). A
    fullerdescriptionofthemodelanddiscussiononitusescanbefoundinBarbrook-Johnsonetal. (2017). Amore
    et al. (2017).

    4.4 Drawingonfindingsfromstakeholderworkshopsandtheresultsofthemodelitself,themodellingteamsuggest
    the TELL ME model can be useful: (i) as a teaching tool, (ii) to test theory, and (iii) to inform data collection
    (Barbrook-Johnson et al. 2017).


    4.5 Practice theories provide an alternative to the theory of planned behaviour and the theory of reasoned action
    to explore sustainability issues such as energy use, climate change, food production, water scarcity, etc. The
    central argument is that the routine activities (aka practices) that people carry out in the service of everyday
    living(e.g. waysofcooking,eating, travelling,etc.),o�enwithsomelevelofautomaticitydevelopedovertime,
    shouldbethefocusof inquiryandinterventionif thegoal istotransformenergy-andemissions-intensiveways
    of living.

    4.6 The Households and Practices in Energy use Scenarios (HOPES) agent-based model (Narasimhan et al. 2017)
    was developed to formalise key features of practice theories and to use the model to explore the dynamics of
    energyuseinhouseholds. Akeytheoretical featurethatHOPESsoughttoformalise is theperformanceofprac-
    tices, enabled by the coming together of appropriate meanings (mental activities of understanding, knowing
    how and desiring, Reckwitz 2002), materials (objects, body and mind) and skills (competences). For example,

    JASSS, 21(1) 14, 2018 Doi: 10.18564/jasss.3669

    Figure 1: A screenshot of the Tell Me model interface. The interface houses key model parameters related to
    individuals’ attitude towards influenza, their consumption of di�erent media types, the epidemiological pa-
    rameters of the strain of influenza, and their social networks. Key outputs shown include changes in people’s’
    attitude, actual behaviour, and the progression of the epidemic. The world view shows the spread of the epi-
    demic (blue = epidemic not yet reached, red = high levels of infection, green = most people recovered).

    a laundry practice could signify a desire for clean clothes (meaning) realised by using a washing machine (ma-
    terial) and knowing how to operate the washing machine (skill); performance of the practice then results in
    energy use.

    4.7 HOPES has two types of agents: households and practices. Elements (meanings, materials and skills) are en-
    tities in the model. The model concept is that households choose di�erent elements to perform practices de-
    pendingonthesocio-technicalsettingsuniquetoeachhousehold. Theperformanceofsomepracticesresult in
    energy use while some do not, e.g., using a heater to keep warm results in energy use whereas using a jumper
    or blanket does not incur energy use. Furthermore, the repeated performance of practices across space and
    time causes the enabling elements to adapt (e.g. some elements are used more popularly than others), which
    subsequently a�ects the future performance of practices and thereby energy use. A rule-based system, devel-
    oped based on empirical data collected from 60 UK households, was included in HOPES to enable households
    to choose elements to perform practices. The rule-based approach allowed organising the complex contex-
    tual information and socio-technical insights gathered from the empirical study in a structured way to choose
    the most appropriate actions when faced with incomplete and/or conflicting decisions. HOPES also includes
    sub-models to calculate the energy use resulting from the performance of practices, e.g. a thermal model of a
    house is built in to consider the outdoor temperature, the type and size of heater, and the thermostat setpoint
    to estimate the energy used for thermal comfort practices in each household.

    4.8 The model is used to test di�erent policy and innovation scenarios to explore the impacts of the performance
    of practices on energy use. For example, the implementation of a time of use tari� demand response scenario
    shows that while some demand shi�ing is possible as a consequence of pricing signals, there is no significant
    2017). The overall motivation is that by gaining insight into the trajectories of unsustainable energy consum-
    ing practices (and underlying elements) under di�erent scenarios, it might be possible to propose alternative
    pathways that allow more sustainable practices to take hold.


    4.9 TheSWAPmodel (Johnson2015b,a) isanagent-basedmodelof farmers’makingdecisionsaboutadoptingsoil
    and water conservation (SWC) practices on their land. Developed in NetLogo (Wilensky 1999), the main agents
    who are government and non-governmental actors who encourage farmers to adopt. Farmers can also be en-
    couraged or discouraged to change their behaviour depending on what those nearby and in their social net-
    worksaredoing. Theenvironmentisasimplemodelofthesoilquality(Figure2). Themainoutcomesofinterest

    JASSS, 21(1) 14, 2018 Doi: 10.18564/jasss.3669

    are the temporal and spatial patterns of SWC adoption. A full description can be found in Johnson (2015b) and
    Johnson (2015a).

    Figure 2: Screenshot of the SWAP model key outputs and worldview in NetLogo. The outputs show the per-
    centagesof farmerspracticingSWCandsimilarly thenumberof fieldswithSWC. Intheworldview,circlesshow
    farmer agents in various decision states, triangles show ‘extension’ agents, and the patches’ colour denotes
    the presence of conservation (green or brown) and soil quality (deeper colour means higher quality). Source:
    Adapted from Johnson (2015a).

    4.10 The SWAP model was developed: (i) as an ‘interested amateur’ to be used as a discussion tool to improve the
    qualityof interactionbetweenpolicystakeholders;and(ii)asanexplorationofthetheoryonfarmerbehaviour
    in the SWC literature.

    4.11 The model’s use as an ‘interested amateur’ was explored with stakeholders in Ethiopia. Using a model as an
    interestedamateur isaconcept inspiredbyDennett(2013). Dennettsuggestsexpertso�entalkpasteachother,
    make wrong assumptions about others’ beliefs, and/or do not wish to look stupid by asking basic questions.
    These failings can o�en mean experts err on the side of under-explaining issues, and thus fail to come to con-
    sensus or agreeable outcomes in discussion. For Dennett, an academic philosopher, the solution is to bring
    undergraduate students – interested amateurs – into discussions to ask the simple questions, and generally
    force experts to err on the side of over-explanation.

    4.12 The SWAP model was used as an interested amateur with a di�erent set of experts, policy makers and o�icials
    in Ethiopia. This was done because policies designed to increase adoption of SWC have generally been un-
    successful due to poor calibration to farmers’ needs. This is understood in the literature to be a result of poor
    the model and it was successful in aiding discussion. However, participants described an inability to innovate
    in their work, and viewed stakeholders ‘lower-down’ the policy spectrum as being in more need of discussion
    tools. A full description of this use of the model can be found in Johnson (2015a).


    4.13 The European Commission was expecting to spend arounde77 billion on research and development through
    its Horizon 2020 programme between 2014 and 2020. It is the successor to the previous, rather smaller pro-
    gramme,calledFramework7. WhenHorizon2020wasbeingdesigned, theCommissionwantedtounderstand
    how the rules for Framework 7 could be adapted for Horizon 2020 to optimise it for current policy goals, such
    as increasing the involvement of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

    4.14 An agent-based model, INFSO-SKIN, was built to evaluate possible funding policies. The model was set up to
    reproducethefundingrules, thefundedorganisationsandprojects,andtheresultingnetworkstructuresofthe
    Framework 7 programme. This model, extrapolated into the future without any policy changes, was then used
    asabenchmarkfor furtherexperiments. Againstthisbaselinescenario,severalpolicychangesthatwereunder
    consideration for the design of the Horizon 2020 programme were then tested, to understand the e�ect of a
    rangeofpolicyoptions: changestothethematicscopeoftheprogramme;thefunding instruments; theoverall

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    amount of programme funding; and increasing SME participation (Ahrweiler et al. 2015). The results of these
    simulations ultimately informed the design of Horizon 2020.


    4.15 Following the 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), the UK Department of the Environment, Food
    and Rural A�airs (Defra) imposed a 20-day standstill period prohibiting any livestock movements o�-farm fol-
    lowingthearrivalofananimal. The20-dayrulecausedsignificantdi�iculties for farmers. TheLessonsLearned
    Inquiry, which reported in July 2002, recommended that the 20-day standstill remain in place pending a de-
    tailed cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of the standstill regime.

    4.16 Defra commissioned the CBA in September 2002 and a report was required in early 2003 in order to inform
    changes to the movement regime prior to the spring movements season. This timescale was challenging due
    totheshorttimescalesandlimiteddataavailabletoinformthecostriskbenefitmodellingrequired. Atopdown
    model was therefore developed that captured only the essential elements of the decision, combining them in
    an influence diagram representation of the decision to be made. As wide a range of experts as possible were
    involved in model development, helping inform the structure of the model, its parameterisation, validation
    and interpretation of the results. An Agile approach was adopted with detail added to the model in a series of
    development cycles guided by a steering group.

    4.17 Theresultant‘SilentSpread’modelshowedthatfactorssuchastimetodetectionofdisease,aremuchmoreim-
    portantthanlengthofstandstill indeterminingthesizeofanoutbreak(RiskSolutions2003). Themodellingwas
    critical totheGovernment’sdecisiontorelaxthe20-daymovementcontrol to6days, subject tocommitments
    fromthelivestockindustry. Theiterative,participatorydevelopmentprocessgeneratedanunprecedentedlevel
    of ‘buy-in’ to the results in an area which had previously been marked by deep controversy.

    4.18 Following this, Defra commissioned further modelling to inform the design of the FMD contingency plan to be
    followedintheeventofanoutbreak. Forthisapplication,adetailed ‘bottom-up’modelwasneededthatcould
    the spread of a disease to be explored (Risk Solutions 2005).

    4.19 The model was implemented as an agent-based model using the Exodis™ disease modelling framework (Fig-
    ure3). Theframeworkbuildsaheterogeneousgeo-spatial representationoftheUKbasedonfarmcensusdata,
    gies and the resources required to carry out these strategies. The agents in the model are farms. For a given
    setofoutbreakstartingconditionsandforagivencontrolstrategy, themodelprovidesdetailedinformationon
    how the outbreak might evolve, calculating parameters such as the number of premises infected, the duration
    oftheoutbreak,thenumberofanimalsculledand/orvaccinated,etc. Itproducesdistributionsforeachofthese
    parameters to reflect the range of potential outcomes for any outbreak.

    Figure 3: Screenshots taken of various Exodis output and control screens.

    4.20 Following the cost benefit analysis work Defra retained a decision support tool that provides a training aid for

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    useduringexercises,andtoinformdecisionsintheeventofanactualoutbreak. Themodelwasusedduringthe
    emerging outbreak of FMD in 2007 and continues to be used to test proposed changes to the control regime.


    4.21 The abstraction of water from rivers and aquifers in England is controlled by a licensing regime established in
    the1960s. TheUKGovernmentwishtoreformthesystemtoonethatencouragesabstractors tomanagewater
    e�iciently and work together to make best use of water. Water abstraction management is a classic ‘wicked’
    problem in that it is highly resistant to resolution. Previous attempts to reform the system have failed, partly
    through not engaging stakeholders in the need for, and nature of, a solution.

    4.22 Assessingthecosts, risksandbenefitsofthedi�erentwaysofreformingthesystemiscomplex. Itneedstotake
    into account:

    • The interactions between a complex natural system and the abstractors (including the public water sup-
    ply, power producers, farmers, and industry),

    • That economic, social and climate conditions will change in ways that we cannot predict, and

    • Thecomplexwaythatthenewmeasureswill influenceindividualabstractorbehavioursonaday-by-day,
    year-by-year basis.

    4.23 Agent-based modelling was ideally suited to explore how the existing and proposed reforms might operate. A
    multidisciplinary team worked with a wide range of experts and stakeholders to develop an agent-based eco-
    nomic behavioural model integrated with catchment hydrological models on a daily time-step basis (Risk So-
    lutions 2015).

    Figure 4: Schematic of the two main model components of the Abstraction Behaviour Model for one catch-
    ment – showing the hydrological model (topology snapped to a 1 km grid including: the river network, aquifer
    position of abstractors).

    4.24 The agent population consists of all of the businesses that have a licence to take water from the rivers and
    aquifers in a particular river basin (Figure 4). The river basin is modelled in detail using a hydrological model
    of the rivers, aquifers, and land use with a geo-spatial resolution of 1 km by 1 km. Each agent makes a series of
    ity changes with economic and climate change. The policy options control water levels in the modelled rivers
    and aquifers using di�erent mechanisms, and allow di�erent types of water rights trading between agents.
    The successful achievement of environmental standards is monitored by regulator agents, who take action to
    further restrict abstraction permissions if necessary. The model was used to explore in detail how the reforms

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    wouldworkinpractice. Itexposedmanyunanticipatedando�enunwelcomee�ects,andsoenabledthedesign
    of the reforms to be improved.


    5.1 Fromourexperience,derivedfromtheexamplepolicymodelsdescribedintheprevioussectionandotherswe
    have worked on, we suggest the following are some of the key lessons modellers should carry into their policy
    modelling e�orts:

    Theprocess isas important,ando�enmoreso, thantheoutputs

    5.2 Manygovernmentdecisionprocessesunderstandablyrequirequantitativedata,forexampletocompleteaReg-
    ulatory Impact Appraisal template. A simple set of cost benefit values provides clear, compelling arguments in
    support of a decision or conclusion. In complex, evolving environments, however, reducing the answer to a
    limited set of numbers may be neither possible, nor desirable – conveying as they do a level of certainty in
    understanding which is rarely achievable. Policy modelling in complex environments should be as much, or
    more, about developing understanding about a problem or decision as it is about the number at the end. Care
    is needed to ensure that the need, or desire, for numbers, alongside unfamiliarity with, or suspicion of, unfa-
    miliar approaches, does not drive the choice of sub-optimal modelling approaches.

    5.3 In the water abstraction reform work (Section 4.21), although the modelling did generate numbers to input
    to the Impact Assessment Template (absorbing a significant proportion of the modelling e�ort), the greatest
    benefit of the work was the contribution to designing the policy, which was intimately informed by the more
    exploratory aspects of the modelling, including both: the discipline provided by the need to articulate the re-
    of the system uncovered through running multiple scenarios, sensitivity analyses and what-if scenarios.

    5.4 In the SWAP model (Section 4.9), the policy value lay entirely in the process of interrogating the model, and
    usingitasabasis fordiscussions,sharingassumptionsandbuildingconsensus. Aninterestingextradimension
    wasthatcritiquingdesignchoicesgeneratedvalueforstakeholders. Inthisrolethemodel isaboundaryobject
    (Star&Griesemer1989), and ‘interestedamateur’ (Johnson2015a)asdescribedabove. Withstakeholderswho
    do not regularly work together, and/or who do not have the capacity to take ownership and undertake contin-
    ueduseandmaintenanceofamodel, thisprocess-basedvalueisevenmorelikelytobethemainbenefitof the
    modelling process.

    5.5 In the Tell Me model (Section 4.2), we find a similar message. In this example, detailed micro-validation (i.e.
    benefitstopublichealthstakeholdersinvolvedintheproject. Thelackofdataavailabletoallowrigorousformal
    validation of the model meant that this was one of the most valuable aspects of the modelling exercise.

    5.6 TheHOPESmodel (Section4.5) introducedanalystsconcernedwithdevelopingpolicies tomanagehousehold
    energydemandto the ideaofconsidering socialpracticesasanalternative toassuminghouseholdenergy use
    is determined by individual rational actors making decisions based primarily on cost. The fact that the HOPES
    model could generate plausible outputs using social practice theory as its foundation was probably more sig-
    nificant to stakeholders than the actual values it yielded.

    Modelsneedtobeatanappropriate levelofabstraction

    5.7 No model can fully reflect the real world: some details need to be omitted and some boundary needs to be
    drawnaroundwhatistobemodelled. However, it isnotthecasethatthemostdetailedmodelisnecessarilythe
    best. Onthecontrary,highly-detailedmodelsmayrequiremoredatathanisorcouldbeavailable;canbehardto
    calibrate and validate; and, most importantly, can be hard to understand. Clients, modellers and stakeholders
    can all struggle with the idea that less can be more and get drawn into trying to model reality instead of the
    decisionessentials. Ontheotherhand,amodelthatistoosimpleortooabstractmaybeimpossibletovalidate,
    because there is nothing in the model that corresponds to empirical observation, and because the behaviour
    of the model may bear little relationship to what happens in the world. The optimal level of abstraction will
    One of the signs of good modelling is pitching the model at the right place in between the two extremes.

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    5.8 TheSilentSpreadmodeldescribedinSection4.15wasasimplemodeldevelopedatahighlevelofabstraction.
    The modelling was required to support a single decision question, could the livestock movement standstill
    period be reduced or removed? At the time Defra did not routinely collect information on the movement of
    animals, and so data to inform the modelling was limited. The solution was therefore to develop an abstract
    model,capturingonlythoseelementsessentialtothedecision. Withmoretime,andamuchricherfundofdata,
    itwaspossibletodevelopamuchmoredetailedrepresentationofdiseasespreadfortheExodis-FMD™ model.
    In this case it was also necessary to capture the dynamic interaction of the various control strategies with the
    spread of a disease, in order to provide a basis for testing these.

    5.9 HOPES (Section 4.5) started as an abstract model that served as a proof that it is possible to go beyond the
    conventional but limited approach of analysing energy demand in terms of rational and individual decision
    making to model energy consuming social practices in the household. Only once this proof of concept version
    had been demonstrated did the model get extended and refined to incorporate specific social practices (main-
    tainingacomfortableenvironment, doingthe laundry,etc.) thatcouldbecalibratedagainst thedatacollected
    from energy sensors installed in the sample households.

    5.10 One motive for making the HOPES model more concrete was a desire to link it to existing models of the UK en-
    ergysupplysystem. Thesemodelledelectricitysupply fromelectricitypowerstations,windfarms,etc. andthe
    interconnecting grid and have been used to develop scenarios for informing decisions about the optimal ways
    of developing the whole energy system to meet low carbon targets in 2050. However, these supply models in-
    corporateddemandfunctionsbasedonrathersimplehouseholdutilitymaximisationassumptions. TheHOPES
    model has been used to improve this aspect of the supply models, but not without di�iculty, stemming from
    timising using linear programming techniques; HOPES is an agent-based model), and the di�erent time scales
    ofthesimulations(thesupplymodelsusetimestepsofdaysoryears,whileHOPEShashourlytimesteps). This
    example illustrates well the fact that one needs to think carefully about the appropriate level of abstraction of
    models, not only in terms of their relevance for stakeholders but also to fit them properly into what can be a
    whole ecology of related models.

    Data and validation challenges must be recognised, but not used as an excuse not to


    5.11 Data is never perfect. Lack of, or poor quality data, frustrates the parameterisation and validation of models.
    However, lack of data should never be used as an excuse not to model, or not to model an aspect of a problem
    thatisimportanttothedecisionstobemade. Collaborativeapproaches,formalelicitationofexpertjudgement,
    explicit modelling of uncertainty and sensitivity analysis can all be used to address a lack of data.

    5.12 IntheTellMeexample(Section4.2),despiteaninitialbeliefbymodellersandstakeholdersthatdatawasavail-
    able, it became clear that there was no data that connected policy interventions with behavioural change and
    outcomes. Behavioural outcome data was at an aggregate level, meaning it is impossible to understand the
    individual level impacts of the intervention. Data directly connecting intervention and outcome, for each indi-
    vidual, is vital for choosing values for e�ect size parameters in the model.

    5.13 Inthisexample,thelackofdatashouldnotbeseenasareasonnottomodel. Themotivationstomodelremain.
    Rather,thelackofdatamadeexplicitbythemodelshouldbeusedtoinformfuturedatacollection. AsBarbrook-
    Johnson et al. (2017) states,

    “[data] collection must go alongside continued development of theory and models of decision-
    making. Improvedtheoriesofindividualdecision-makingandinteractionwillgivemodelsastronger
    footingonwhichtobasetheirassumptions. Asdataandtheoryimprove,sotoowill the(prototype)
    modelsdevelopedusingthatsupport. Thiscouldthenleadtoimproveddatacollectionandtheory
    building, creating a positive feedback between the three.”


    5.14 Lack of data can present particular challenges to the formal validation of models, particularly in the complex,
    changingenvironmentswheremodellingtoexplorehowthefuturemightunfoldcanbemostuseful. IntheTell

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    Meexample, thedataonbehaviouraloutcomesthroughtimeeitherdidnotexist,ortendedtobeatarelatively
    low resolution. This meant that there was not enough longitudinal outcome data for the model results to be
    compared with.

    5.15 Lackofacomprehensivedataset forvalidationshouldnotbetakento implythemodelcannotbevalidatedfor
    itsparticularpurpose. Inthesecircumstances,a layeredapproachtovalidationshouldbeused: formalquality
    assuranceprocessesshouldbeappliedfromtheoutset, includingtheselectionofthemodellingapproach(see
    for example the Aqua Book, HM Treasury 2015, and Edmonds 2016), alongside formal documented verification
    andvalidationprocesses. Formalvalidationshould involvesubjectmatterexperts incollaborationwithmodel
    output users and modellers and should be an integral part of model development.

    5.16 Validationmustensurethatthemodel (1)makestechnicalorscientificsense(2)canreproducerecordedreality
    (3)isfitfortheuseitisdesignedfor. Taylor(2003)includesausefulchecklistoftheseandotherissuestoaddress
    and questions to ask when using models in decision making.

    5.17 TheSilentSpreadexample(Section4.15)illustrateshowamodelcanbedevelopedandvalidatedintheabsence
    ofmuch‘hard’data, throughaprocessofscrutinyofall stagesofmodeldevelopmentandresultgenerationby
    subject matter experts, modellers, users and wider stakeholders.


    5.18 Agile,collaborativeprocessesensuremodelsremainfocusedonthepolicyneedandprovideformoree�ective
    peerreviewandscrutinyofthemodellingprocess. Thisrequiresahighdegreeoftrustbetweencommissioners
    and modellers from the outset. Policy makers, analysts, model output users, stakeholders, and peer reviewers
    should be involved, not just at the problem definition, user needs stage, but throughout to ensure that the
    the results remain fit for purpose and focused on need.

    5.19 At the scoping stage, there needs to be a honest discussion about the best modelling approach and whether
    existing models will meet needs. Great care needs to be taken when using models for applications they were
    not originally designed for to ensure that the underlying structure of the model is fit for purpose.

    5.20 An Agile development approach (Abrahamsson et al. 2017), which iteratively adds functionality and detail to
    the model through cycles of development, testing and scrutiny, is a good way of managing the tendency for
    modellers and clients alike to drive towards too great a level of detail and more realistic representations in
    models than is optimal.

    5.21 Finally,modellersshouldbeinvolvedinhelpinginterprettheresultsfordecisionmaking. Itisimpossibletocap-
    ture in a report all the nuances of the model simplifications, data weaknesses etc. in a way that policy makers
    can use reliably.

    5.22 The Silent Spread work (Section 4.15) used a highly participatory approach leading to much improved under-
    standing and cooperation between Defra and industry stakeholders. In contrast, the INFO-SKIN model (Sec-
    that is, the relevant policy makers, from the modellers. The people from the European Commission (EC) who
    were the clients only met the modellers at the beginning, middle and at the end of the model development
    and were not therefore much involved in its design. Moreover, the EC personnel changed during the develop-
    ment and by the end there was a rather poor understanding by the clients of the purpose and capabilities of
    the model. A further issue was that the clients wanted the modellers to draw out specific policy recommenda-
    think it appropriate that they should be devising policies themselves. These are all symptoms of the absence
    of proper collaboration between the modellers and the commissioners.


    5.23 Policymodellingrequirescarefulconsiderationofawiderangeofethical issues,not leastbecausepolicymod-
    elshavethepotentialtochangepolicyandthusdirectlya�ectpeople’s lives. Inadditiontothebasicimperative
    to ensure that a model is fit for purpose, as discussed above, there is also a need to consider issues arising in
    connection with the data used to build and calibrate the model and the way in which the results of the model
    are presented.

    5.24 Whenpersonaldata iscollected,eitherexplicitlythrough, forexample,asurvey,or implicitly,asadministrative
    records or as the side-e�ect of other activities (such as using social media or mobile phones), not only does

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    oneneedtoabidebydataprotectionlaws,butalsoneedtoensurethatappropriate informedconsent forsuch
    useofthedatahasbeenobtained(see, forexample, theethicalguidelinespublishedbytheBritishSociological
    Association (BSA 2017), the Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR 2012) and the Association of Computing
    Machinery(ACM1992). Thereremainsaneedtobringtheseguidelinestogetherandtodrawouttheirrelevance
    to modelling.

    5.25 An important consideration is whether data is representative of the population being modelled. As artificial
    intelligence researchers have discovered to their cost, basing a model on biased data can lead to biased re-
    sults and it can be hard to detect this a�er the event (Knight 2017). This is especially a problem with ‘big data’,
    whereit iseasytoassumethatbecauseonehasavery largevolumeofdata, itmustberepresentativealthough
    important but numerically small minorities may be absent.

    5.26 The results derived from models are always subject to a degree of uncertainty. However, it is easy for mod-
    ellersandespecially theusersofmodels todownplay, intentionally (becausetheydonotbelieve itwillbewell
    received)orunintentionally(expertbias), thedegreeofuncertaintypresent,andtheimplicationsofthatuncer-
    tainty for making policy decisions. Users may also put pressure on modellers to downplay uncertainty. Mod-
    ellersshouldbeclearandconfidentintheircommunicationofuncertaintybutalsoinformative. Theuserneeds
    tounderstandwhattheuncertaintymeansintermsofthedecisionsorcommunicationstheyneedtomake. This
    ismademoreproblematic if themodel iscomplexandpresentedtousersasa‘blackbox’thatgeneratesresults
    This isanotherreasonforencouragingcollaborationbetweenusersandmodellers: userscanfollowthemodel
    development process and may then get at least a glimpse of its workings and the assumptions being made;
    modellers can better understand the context and ensure that the results are presented in a form that is useful.

    5.27 In the Silent Spread example, decision information was needed quickly, when there was little data available
    to inform modelling. As wide a range of stakeholders, experts and o�icials as possible was actively involved
    in designing, populating and testing the model. Working groups met regularly at every stage of the modelling
    process. Once results began to emerge the group helped to interrogate and interpret the results, suggesting a
    range of ways of refining the modelling to test new hypotheses suggested by the outputs. A variety of di�erent
    waysofpresentingtheuncertaintyintheresultswasused, inparticularthelevelofresidualriskassociatedwith
    eachofthepolicyoptionsunderconsiderationwasclearly illustratedallowingdecisionmakerstotakethis into
    account in reaching their decision. The process produced unparalleled acceptance of the final conclusions for
    policy with the model being described by one expert as the “collective brain of the group”.


    5.28 Communication is necessary to clearly explain results, and their limitations, ensure that the outputs are used
    appropriately, and build confidence in the modelling process and outputs. It is the nature of model outputs,
    consisting of numbers and charts, to appear more certain than they are, and this can mean that the boundary
    betweendataandassumptionisoverlooked. Poorpastexperiencecanleadtodistrustofmodelling. Activecol-
    laborationbuildsconfidenceinandchampionsforthework,but it isnotpossibletoinvolveeveryone. Changes
    of personnel, both in the modelling team and in the policy client can also lead to problems. In complex mod-
    elling environments, it is easy to underestimate the communication challenges.

    5.29 In the Silent Spread work (Section 4.15) the modellers had to work hard to break distrust of modelling brought
    about by issues surrounding the use of predictive models to support the pre-emptive, contiguous cull during
    the 2001 outbreak of disease. While at first it was hard to get stakeholders with entrenched and o�en opposed
    di�erent perspectives and test the results of these.

    5.30 In the SWAP model example (Section 4.9), trust was less problematic. Rather it was the communication of the
    model design, and the conclusions the model (and modeller) could make, which needed to be communicated
    to stakeholders that were not familiar with formal computational modelling approaches. This led to an acces-
    sible form of communicating the model being designed. This still needed to provide the detail of the model
    assumptions and rules so that it could be used as the basis of discussion. To do this, a combination of pseudo
    code, simplified (and jargonless) Unified Modelling Language diagrams, and projector presentations of results
    andthemodelrunningwereused. Theemphasiswasplacedstronglyontheassumptionsandstepbysteprules
    of the model, rather than the results.

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    5.31 Ifmodelscancontinuetohavearoleinpolicymonitoring,developmentandevaluationa�ertheirinitialresults,
    theydeliverbettervalue,butensuringthatmodelsareproperlymaintained isdi�icultwithingovernmentpro-
    curementprocessesandstructures. Plansformaintenanceofthemodelshouldbediscussedatthestartof the
    modelling project.

    5.32 Open source models are attractive because communities can continue to maintain and scrutinise them, but
    this isnotalwaysanoptionforpolicymodelswhichmustcontinuetorepresentcomplexpolicyaccuratelyover
    time, accounting for changes in policy and the policy environment. Decision makers need to have confidence
    thatthiswillhappenandareunlikelytobepreparedtorelyonvoluntarye�orts. Moreover,manypolicymodels
    need to use confidential data, which cannot be made open source at the necessary level of disaggregation.

    5.33 Of the models described in Section 4, only Exodis (Section4.15) is currently being maintained. Securing long-
    term maintenance arrangements is thus a challenge that is so far rarely met properly.

  • Conclusions
  • 6.1 The technology required for modelling complex domains is in place and increasingly easy to use. However, for
    policy modelling to achieve its full potential, there needs to be more attention paid to the processes of model
    development and use. As we have illustrated in this paper, there are many pitfalls along the way in making
    policy models e�ective and used. Much of this is ‘cra� knowledge’, gained from experience and from making
    mistakes, which is why we have described key lessons that we have learned from our own varied experience.
    Nevertheless, where the costs or risks associated with a policy change are high, and the context is complex, it
    is not only common sense to use policy modelling to inform decision making, but it would be unethical not to.

    6.2 The most important requirement in our view for successful policy modelling is to encourage communication
    andcollaborationamongthoseinvolved: themodellersthemselves,theclientsandstakeholders, thesuppliers
    ofdata, theusersof themodeloutputsandsoon. Academiastillhasatendencytoworkwithinan ivorytower,
    making results, and models, available to users only once they have been fully developed and a�er the work
    has been published in the research literature. While this approach may work for some formal modelling, it
    almost certainly will not yield useful policy models that are actually used by decision makers. Instead, as we
    have emphasised above, policy modelling needs to be collaborative, iterative and Agile. Such an approach
    has many benefits. Firstly, it provides a sense of ownership of the model and encourages commitment from
    users about what they may come to see as ‘their’ model, rather than some black box that someone else is
    imposing on them. Secondly, collaboration helps to prevent modellers making naÃŕve assumptions about the
    targetdomain,whichiseasytodoifoneisnotadomainexpert. Thus, throughcollaboration, themodellersare
    educated about the complexities of the world they are trying to represent, but equally, the users are educated
    aboutthecapabilitiesandlimitationsofthemodelthattheyarehelpingtodevelop. Thirdly,activeengagement
    of stakeholders can help parameterise and sense check models, even where ‘hard’ data is sparse. Lack of data
    approach to modelling allows data needs to be identified and ways of addressing these developed.

    6.3 Such a collaborative style of working may be foreign to many government agencies and can involve delicate
    negotiations about confidentiality, privacy and access to data. However, there does seem to be an inexorable
    trendtowardsthegreateruseofsimulation,machine learningandartificial intelligencetoaiddecisionmaking
    in government and business, so the culture may have to change to permit and even encourage a more collab-
    orative, Agile modelling approach. When it does, policy modelling will truly have come of age.

  • Acknowledgements
  • The support of the following for the preparation of this paper and the examples mentioned is acknowledged:
    For SWAP: This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant No. ES/J500148/1).
    Additional support was received from the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Wa-
    ter Management Institute.
    For TELL ME: This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European
    Union’sSeventhFrameworkProgramme(FP/2007-2013),GrantAgreementnumber278723. Thefullprojecttitle
    is TELL ME: Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering e�ective

    JASSS, 21(1) 14, 2018 Doi: 10.18564/jasss.3669

    Messages, providing Evidence, with details at
    For WholeSEM: The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council supported this work through the
    WholeSystemsEnergyModellingConsortium(WholeSEM)project(grantEP/K039326/1). http://www.wholesem.
    ForSilentSpreadandExodis: ThisworkwasfundedbyDefra. TheRiskSolutions’leadmodellerforSilentSpread
    was Chris Rees and for Exodis, Jon Pocock.
    For the Water Abstraction Model: This work was supported by Defra, the Environment Agency, the Welsh Gov-
    ernment and Natural Resources Wales. The Risk Solutions’ lead modeller was Jon Pocock. Risk Solutions led a
    consortium that also included HR Wallingford, Amec, London Economics and Wilson Sherri�.
    cial Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, BEIS, DEFRA, the Environment Agency and
    the Food Standards Agency, grant ES/N012550/1.


    1To help address these issues it is useful for modellers to consider and use the wealth of research on the
    roleofresearchinthepolicyprocess, thescience-policy interfaceandresearchutilisation,andevidence-based
    policy. It is not the purpose of this paper to discuss this research, readers are referred to the following sources:

    • On the science-policy interface researchers have considered how the two communities of ‘policy mak-
    ers’ and ‘researchers’ interact. Historically, the divide has been seen as clear (Weiss 1976; Caplan et al.
    1975; Caplan 1979), but more recent work explores the continuous interaction and movement between
    the communities (e.g. Cash et al. 2003; Clark & Holmes 2010).

    • On how research is actually used, there have been many conceptualisations and overviews (e.g. Jäger
    1998; Weible 2008). The most well-known is Weiss (1979) which outlines how research can be used as
    evidence;aproblem-solvingtool;onesourceof informationamongmany; justificationforalready-made
    decisions; a tool to delay di�icult or sensitive decisions (i.e. ‘we need to do more research on this’, ‘kick
    it into the long grass’); a source of general enlightenment; and finally, one of many pursuits of society
    (alongside policy, art, media, law etc.) which all influence each other. A lesson from much of this work is
    that it is o�en di�icult or impossible to foresee how a model may be used, and this has implications for
    how the model is designed and maintained, a point we return to in Section 5.

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    • The Role of Models in Policy Making
    • Modelling to support policy design and appraisal
      Modelling to support policy evaluation
      Difficulties in the use of modelling

    • Policy Experiments and Policy Models
    • Policy pilots
      Policy models for policy experimentation

    • Examples of Policy Models
    • Tell-Me
      Silent Spread and Exodis-FMD
      The Abstractor Behaviour Model

    • Key Lessons for Policy Modellers
    • The process is as important, and often more so, than the outputs
      Models need to be at an appropriate level of abstraction
      Data and validation challenges must be recognised, but not used as an excuse not to model, or not to use the results
      Data challenges
      Validation challenges
      Model development and use needs to be Agile and collaborative
      The ethics of modelling
      Communicating the modelling process, structure and results needs careful planning
      Models need to be maintained

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