Causal System Dynamics Modelling

Workstrand 4

Lead - Visakan Kadirkamanathan

Visakan Kadirkamanathan Headshot 

What is this workstrand about?

Workstrand 4 is developing a dynamical system modelling methodology to estimate the health, social and economic impacts of different policies, taking into account the effects of multiple, dependent pathways, and how effects accumulate over time.

Policies can affect the health of the public in ways that are not straightforward to understand. For example, an employment policy to reduce underemployment may have beneficial health effects if it generates higher incomes (e.g. increasing people’s ability to afford healthy food and good quality housing) and productivity (e.g. generating more government money through income tax that is available to spend on healthcare).  

An important aspect in modelling is the question of “causality” – that means that one thing causes another rather than things just cooccurring by chance or as a result of something else. In the above example we would need to find out whether it is really the underemployment change that is responsible for health changes, and to what degree health changes also cause a reduction in underemployment. Analysis of causal effects and their directions is part of our modelling methodology.

Workstrand Activities

Workstrand 4 is building working computer models for each topic area and for each policy partner that can be refined over time to give the best possible estimates of policy impact, over time, across the system.

Learning from this work will inform best practice guidance for how to do whole-systems public policy modelling across local, regional, and national government policy settings.