From Theory to Simulation:The Dynamic Political Hierarchy in Country Virtualization Models

22 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 15 Sep 2010

Ian S. Lustick

University of Pennsylvania; Lustick Consulting

Brandon Alcorn

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Miguel Garces

Lustick Consulting

Alicia Ruvinsky

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 1, 2010

Abstract

This paper suggests that computer-assisted agent-based modeling has the ability to move beyond abstract representations of political problems to theoretically sound virtualizations of real-world polities capable of producing probabilistic forecasts from distributions of stochastically perturbed model trajectories. In contrast to statistical approaches, this technique encompasses both prediction and explanation, with every distinctive trajectory traceable backward from the occurrence or non-occurrence of an event of interest through the branching points and mechanisms that led to it. In this paper we illustrate our technique for building a country-scale model from corroborated theories, focusing on the “Dynamic Political Hierarchy” module that integrates theories of cross-cutting cleavages, nested institutions, and dynamic loyalties. We present our forecasts for significant political events in Thailand for the year August 2010-July 2011. Drawing on this case we demonstrate how the challenges of internal validity can be met in complex formal models and conclude by emphasizing the importance of advances in visualization techniques for parsing large amounts of interrelated time-series data.

Keywords: Thailand,agent-based model,virtualization,forecasts,cleavages,computer,simulation, institutions,regime

Suggested Citation

Lustick, Ian S. and Alcorn, Brandon and Garces, Miguel and Ruvinsky, Alicia, From Theory to Simulation:The Dynamic Political Hierarchy in Country Virtualization Models (July 1, 2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642003

Ian S. Lustick (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3440 Market St.
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Philadelphia, PA 19104
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215-898-5719 (Phone)

Lustick Consulting

PA
United States

Brandon Alcorn

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Miguel Garces

Lustick Consulting ( email )

PA
United States
610.664.1891 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.lustickconsulting.com

Alicia Ruvinsky

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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