Using System Dynamics for the Analysis of Complex Social Problems and Public Policy Alternatives

Fundamentals and Recommendations

Authored by: Luis F. Luna-Reyes , J. Ramon Gil-Garcia , Eliot Rich , David F. Andersen

Routledge Handbook on Information Technology in Government

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138925670
eBook ISBN: 9781315683645
Adobe ISBN: 9781317406792


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On February 28, 2015, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), in a partnership with the Rippel Foundation, held the first National Student Simulation Competition. During the competition, 181 students from 93 schools of public administration and public policy in the United States gathered at six host sites to work on the challenge of redesigning a regional healthcare system (McFarland et al. 2015). The day of the competition, student teams worked with a simulator to experiment with different policy combinations, getting immediate feedback about their impact on healthcare costs, death rate, quality of the care, inequity, and employee productivity, all compared to the current conditions in the region. Moreover, participants in the competition could also explore the main pitfalls of their policies and other variables affecting key stakeholders in the system, such as doctors and hospital managers. Such information allowed participants not only to improve the impact of their policies, but also to observe stakeholders’ interests in a way that allowed them to better understand the feasibility of each policy package. Toward the end of the day, each team prepared a presentation, and one winner per site was selected.

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