Agent-Based Model Basics: A Guidebook & Checklist for Policy Researchers

by Dr. Liz Johnson

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With ABM (agent-based model simulations, researchers can observe the dynamics of agents, the collectiveAgent-Based Model Basics: A Guidebook & Checklist for Policy Researchers, and the interrelating environment, in relation to policy. ABM simulations are well suited for capturing relationship connections and interaction processes from heterogeneous agents in operation during the policy process. ABMs allow for generating models and policy scenarios that can identify and show leverage points of policy drivers and policy regulators of what works and how it works in policy. Policy levers are not enacted in isolation. ABMs, if effectively applied, extend the limits of traditional input-output policy research providing insight into processes, mechanisms, and agent interactions in the mysterious policy black-box.

ABMs are built based on theories, assumptions, rules, algorithms, and data. Developing an ABM
starts with assumptions about agents, agent behavior, and the environment. Computer simulations then create scenarios with the capacity to reveal the dynamic consequences about the policy from the model’s assumptions. ABM is a methodology that can transcend traditional policy research, while capturing the dynamics of simple, complicated, complex and chaotic systems. This Guidebook provides an overview and a simple step-by-step “how to” use ABMs effectively in policy research.

Liz Johnson formerly worked as a news anchor, reporter, and PR specialist. She currently works with the Complex Systems Institute in Charlotte, NC. She has been conducting research and publishing on complex systems for over six years in the areas of policy, nanotechnology, human-centrism for species survival, education, sports, agent-based modeling, AI, hybrid engineering, qualitative research, and policy theory. She approaches research problems combining qualitative, quantitative, network science, and agent based modeling methodologies. In addition, she teaches critical thinking and courses on complexity internationally at conferences and academic institutions. Johnson co-founded the Journal on Policy and Complex Systems and serves as the Managing Editor. She holds masters in human development/ learning and ethics/applied philosophy, as well as a doctorate in educational policy and leadership..

The Sweden File: Memoir of an American Expatriate

by Bruce Stevens Proctor and Alan Robert Proctor

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Bruce Proctor’s journey was a harrowing one – from top secrete Pentagon war-policy insider to American deserter. Interpreting reconnaissance photos taken over Southeast Asia d51aALyQ2WqLuring the Vietnam War, he concluded that the conflict was immoral, misguided and deceptive. He suddenly quit the Defense Intelligence Agency (which caused a furor) and joined the Air National Guard to avoid conscription. But his unit was activated, and within the year Bruce was AWOL in Sweden. This hybrid memoir is told in three narrative voices: letters from and to Bruce during 1968 – 1972, his reminiscences 40 years later and two years before his death, and his brother, Alan’s, reflections in 2014. Although he tried, Bruce never learned the language, necessary for a decent job. His letters and later recollections highlight the struggle: impoverishment; common laborer; counselor for disturbed children; taxi driver. He mastered yoga, yet was also mastered by drugs and alcohol. After four years of effort in a foreign culture, Bruce decided, “I must get out of here,” and immigrated to Canada. As the Poet Laureate of Missouri wrote, “It’s an account of…sustained heroism.” Compiled and edited with reflections by Alan Robert Proctor

 

California Chinese Chatter

by Albert Dressler

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by Albert DresslerCalifornia Chinese Chatter contains telegrams sent in 1874 between Chinese citizens living in Downieville, California, and a court transcript of the murder trial of Ah Jake. It offers a unique view of the difficulties that Chinese immigrants had in the United SBookCoverImagetates, particularly in the midst of so much racism that eventually led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The California Gold Rush caused a spike in Chinese immigration, which was continued by the development of the first transcontinental railroad.

The California Gold Rush really was a bonanza. Between 1849 and 1855 the miners gathered more than $400 million dollars; once adjusted, it is a sum today reaching into the trillions. It was a social phenomenon marked by the carnivalesque. In his work Roughing It (1872) Mark Twain’s protagonist remarks as his brother heads West, “Pretty soon he would be hundreds and hundreds of miles away on the great plains and deserts, and among the mountains of the Far West, and would see buffaloes and Indians, and prairie dogs, an antelopes, and have all kinds of adventures, and may be get hanged or scalped, and have ever such a fine time, and write home and tell us all about it, and be a hero…And by and by he would become very rich, and return home by sea, and be able to talk as calmly about San Francisco and ocean, and ‘the isthmus’ as if it was nothing of any consequence to have seen those marvels face to face.”

Go they did to the Land of Golden Dreams, in the largest internal migration in American history, and the adventures and tragedies have created a large and memorable literature.

 

New Ideas for Online Learning: Keeping up with the Changes

Edited by Melissa Layne

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BookCoverImage-4Can a growing number of students in distance education reach such levels that conventional education is permanently changed? Does online education reflect the current economic crisis? Are faculty becoming less and less conventional, while adjunct ranks swell still further? Is “education by Skype” potentially more effective than time honored lectures in a classroom? What is working in online education? How will online education influence primary and secondary instruction, and what is its future in developing countries? What are some of the most effective tools and technologies? And what are the challenges? These and other issues are explored as online learning tools and techniques advance.

Gold Days: California During the Eventful Days of ’49

by Owen Cochran Coy

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The California Gold Rush really was a bonanza. Between 1849 and 1855 more than $400BookCoverImage-2 million dollars was gathered by the miners; once adjusted, it is a sum today reaching into the trillions. It was a social phenomenon marked by the carnivalesque. In Mark Twain’s Roughing It (1872), the protagonist remarks as his brother heads West, “Pretty soon he would be hundreds and hundreds of miles away on the great plains and deserts, and among the mountains of the Far West, and would see buffaloes and Indians, and prairie dogs, an antelopes, and have all kinds of adventures, and may be get hanged or scalped, and have ever such a fine time, and write home and tell us all about it, and be a hero…And by and by he would become very rich, and return home by sea, and be able to talk as calmly about San Francisco and ocean, and ‘the isthmus’ as if it was nothing of any consequence to have seen those marvels face to face.”

Go they did to the Land of Golden Dreams, in the largest internal migration in American history, and the adventures and tragedies have created a large and memorable literature.

Europe’s Welfare Policies: The Frayed Safety Net

European Policy Analysis, Vo. 1, No. 1: Europe’s Welfare Policies: The Frayed Safety Net

Edited by Klaus Schubert, Nils Bandelow, Peter Biegelbauer, and Fritz Sager

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Contents:

Editorial Introduction to the First Issue of European Policy Analysis
Enhancing gender equity through evidence-based policymaking? Theorizing and tracing the use of systematic knowledge in family and tax policy reforms by Joachim Blatter, Clara Bombach, Roman Wiprächtiger

Special Issue on “The governance of welfare markets” Introduction to the special issue: The governance of welfare markets – trends and challenges by Tanja Klenk

Restructuring the Mixed Economy of Welfare: Three Modes of Privatization by Neil Gilbert BookCoverImage-3

The Privatization and Marketization of Pensions in Europe: A Double Transformation Facing the Crisis by Bernhard Ebbinghaus

Portability of Supplementary Pension Rights in Europe: A Lowest Common Denominator Solution by Igor Guardiancich

The Developing Trajectory of the Marketization of Public Employment Services in Denmark – A New Way Forward or the End of Marketization? by Karen N. Breidahl, Flemming Larsen

The governance of hospital markets – Comparing two Bismarckian countries by Tanja Klenk, Renate Reiter

Bending the Rules to Play the Game: Accountability, DRG and Waiting List Scandals in Norway and Germany by Simon Neby, Per Lægreid, Paola Mattei, Therese Feiler

Change agents and service providers? User organizations in the German healthcare system by Benjamin Ewert

Feeding the Global South: Food in Asian and African Societies

Edited by Keokam Kraisoraphong

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The second issue of World Food Policy (WFP) Journal continues to bring together research-based papers by invited authors. Diverse in topic and geographical coverage, the papers offer insiBookCoverImage-2ghtful food policy analysis from the approach of the contributors’ area of expertise. Examining food policy agenda from regional and national perspectives, some of our contributors provide national policy assessments with significant regional and global implications while the others critically assess national policy instruments in terms of their accountability and effectiveness as well as the social costs they incur. Taken together, the papers provide policy implications for countries contemplating the decision to traverse down the populism path in their policy instrument choice for the food sector.