Methods for Identifying Structural Dominance
System Dynamics Review 29 (Virtual Special Issue)
4 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2017 Last revised: 8 Jan 2017
Date Written: February 11, 2013
Two fundamental ideas underlying system dynamics are that modelers construct a closed boundary around the system of interest, with stocks, flows and feedback loops as the basic structural elements within this boundary (Forrester, 1968), and that the interaction of the structural elements represented by the model itself are responsible for generating the behavior of the system (Sterman, 2000, p95). The usefulness of these models is predicated on their ability to support policy design, i.e., the identification of structural leverage points that influence the overall system behavior. However, identifying the structural elements that are responsible for a particular behavior is a challenging task in complex multi-state model. Therefore, for any system dynamics model, understanding structural dominance through model analysis is an essential prerequisite for guiding robust policy design.
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