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Actors, decision-making, and institutions in quantitative system modelling

: Cian, Enrica de; Dasgupta, Shouro; Hof, Andries F.; Sluisveld, Mariësse A.E. van; Köhler, Jonathan; Pfluger, Benjamin; Vuuren, Detlef P. van


Technological forecasting and social change 151 (2020), Art. 119480, 10 pp.
ISSN: 0040-1625
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
modelling; transition pathway; scenario; actor; institution; governance; ABM; IAM

Increasing realism in quantitative system modelling with respect to the representation of actors, decision making, and institutions is critical to better understand the transition towards a low-carbon sustainable society. Yet, studies using quantitative system models, which have become a key analytical tool to support sustainability and decarbonization policies, focus on outcomes, therefore overlooking the dynamics of the drivers of change. We explore opportunities that arise from a deeper engagement of quantitative systems modelling with social science. We argue that several opportunities for enriching the realism in model-based scenario analysis can arise through model refinements oriented towards a more detailed approach in terms of actor heterogeneity, as well as through integration across different analytical and disciplinary approaches. Several opportunities that do not require major changes in model structure are ready to be seized. Promising ones include combining different types of models and enriching model-based scenarios with evidence from applied economics and transition studies.