System Dynamics Structures for Modeling Lawmaking Processes
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Modeling and simulation can help improve lawmaking processes. System dynamics is a simulation methodology for modeling continuous systems that provides a rich and integrative framework for investigating lawmaking process phenomena and inter-relationships from a holistic perspective. Structures for modeling these processes are provided as reusable building blocks. These structures and their behaviors are process patterns that frequently occur. Examples are shown assembling these recurring structures into larger models demonstrating behavior patterns of lawmaking processes including feedback loops. The behaviors are visualized as process trends over time. This paper overviews: 1) basic system dynamics elements and their applied instances in lawmaking, 2) generic flow processes which are small microstructures comprised of a few elements serving as modeling molecules with characteristic behaviors, 3) infrastructures composed of several microstructures producing more complex behaviors, 4) flow chains which are infrastructures consisting of a sequence of levels and rates (stocks and flows) that are model portion backbones, and 5) introductory examples of lawmaking process structures. Even small system dynamics models have been shown useful for understanding complex public policy issues, and thus well suited to assess specific laws and/or aspects of local, national and international lawmaking processes. The structures and applied examples are provided as open source models for the community to incorporate, adapt and apply for lawmaking.
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