The European Social Simulation Association’s annual Social Simulation Conference
September 12-15, 2022
Assessing the Cost of Population Dynamics Design Options in a Microsimulation
Rachel Bacon, Center for Mind and Culture
George Hodulik, Center for Mind and Culture
Wesley J. Wildman, Center for Mind and Culture
Abstract: We explore microsimulation design options as a source of divergence when using demographic statistics from the United Nations to model population dynamics in the United States from the years 1950 to 2100. Our analyses of 100 unique model designs toggle options such as the time step, the initial sample size of agents, variance reduction, ordering of demographic events, and adjustments to risk assignment as appropriate to each statistic. Results indicate that samples of 1,000 or fewer agents will produce very high divergence, even when other options known to improve accuracy are used. These findings are important for balancing efficiency, accuracy, and fidelity in demographic microsimulation design.