Agent-based Modelling as a Tool for Theory Exploration

Agent-based modelling can be seen as a method of building middle range theories, located between abstract social theory and empirical social science. Taking both as an input, it can be used as a laboratory to investigate social theories by implementing the proposed mechanisms and comparing results to actual data. We present an implementation of Situational Action Theory (SAT), a theory put forward as a (causal) theory of the commission of crime by P-O. Wikström. SAT aims to explain the effect of the interaction between agent characteristics and environmental parameters on agent choices. It has been used to inform the collection of a longitudinal dataset of young people’s behaviour, the Peterborough Adolescent and Young Adult Development Study. Through formalisation we investigate the theory's assumptions and by calibrating the resulting model against data, we investigate whether SAT is indeed a sufficient mechanism for explanation of crime.

Thursday, 22 November, 2012 - 12:30 to 14:00
Corinna Elsenbroich
Presenter(s) biography: 

Dr Corinna Elsenbroich is a researcher at CRESS, University of Surrey