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The swap model : policy and theory applications for agent-based modelling of soil and water conservation adoption

Johnson, Peter G. (2015) The swap model : policy and theory applications for agent-based modelling of soil and water conservation adoption Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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Abstract

As the use of agent-based models (ABMs) in policy making continues to expand, it is increasingly clear what a variety of uses ABMs can be put to. Using the development of the SWAP model of soil and water conservation (SWC) adoption in developing countries, this thesis explores how a non-predictive policy-focused ABM can be useful in policy and theoretical contexts. Policies designed to increase adoption of SWC have generally been unsuccessful due to poor calibration to farmers’ needs. This is understood to be a result of poor interaction between the various stakeholders working on SWC. The SWAP model is developed: (i) as an ‘interested amateur’ to be used as a discussion tool to improve the quality of interaction between policy stakeholders; and (ii) as an exploration of the theory on farmer behaviour in the SWC literature. This approach was underpinned by a set of semi-structured interviews with policy practitioners on their understanding, use, and evaluation of models used in policy. The model’s use as an ‘interested amateur’ was explored during a workshop with stakeholders in Ethiopia. Participants recognised the value of the model and it was successful in aiding discussion. However, participants described an inability to innovate in their work, and viewed stakeholders ‘lower-down’ the policy spectrum as being in more need of discussion tools. A pattern-oriented modelling approach showed that the theory used in the model is successful in recreating broad patterns of adoption, but is too generic to represent a variety of different contexts. This thesis develops and presents the first use of the ‘interested amateur’ approach for ABMs. The findings suggest it has value and could be applied in other policy domains. The performance of the SWC theory is also encouraging, suggesting it can be used as a basis for other ABMs exploring farmers’ SWC behaviour.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Johnson, Peter G.bapeterj@hotmail.comUNSPECIFIED
Date : 27 February 2015
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID
Thesis supervisorGilbert, Nigeln.gilbert@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Thesis supervisorBurningham, Katek.burningham@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Depositing User : Peter Johnson
Date Deposited : 09 Mar 2015 10:09
Last Modified : 09 Mar 2015 10:09
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/807166

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