Policy Space and System Dynamics Modeling of Environmental Agendas: An Illustration Revisiting the 'Limits to Growth' Study

30 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2005 Last revised: 16 Dec 2010

Khalid Saeed

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Date Written: September 1, 2010

Abstract

System Dynamics offers a powerful vehicle to model environmental agendas and design operational interventions to mitigate environmental problems, provided the models of environmental issues have in them an appropriate policy space. Two limitations mar most modeling efforts to issue operational policy: 1) The problem definition might be linked too intimately to a preferred rather than a competing set of manifestations, hence the model it creates has no way to transform behavior to an alternative manifestation. 2) The policy parameters address societal rather than individual behavioral characteristics. Hence intervention is not possible through individual motivational instruments but is implied through power or moral appeal. Using the example of the limits to growth study, this paper illustrates how those limitations affect policy recommendations and how model structure can be modified to incorporate an appropriate policy space in it so its policy recommendations are operational rather than normative.

Keywords: system dynamics, environmental economics, ecological economics, environmental policy, energy policy, resource policy, limits to growth, computer simulation.

JEL Classification: C63, Q3

Suggested Citation

Saeed, Khalid, Policy Space and System Dynamics Modeling of Environmental Agendas: An Illustration Revisiting the 'Limits to Growth' Study (September 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=806184 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.806184

Khalid Saeed (Contact Author)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) ( email )

100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

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