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How to do structural validity of a system dynamics type simulation model: The case of an energy policy model


  • Qudrat-Ullah, Hassan
  • Seong, Baek Seo


System dynamics based simulation models are becoming increasingly popular in the analysis of important energy policy issues including global warming, deregulation, conservation and efficiency. The usefulness of these models is predicated on their ability to link observable patterns of behavior of a system to micro-level structures. This paper argues that the structural validity of the simulation model--right behavior for the right reasons--is a stringent measure to build confidence in a simulation model regardless of how well the model passes behavior validity tests. That leads to an outline of formal structural validity procedures available but less explored in system dynamics modeling 'repertoire'. An illustration of a set of six tests for structural validity of a system dynamics model for energy policy analysis follows. Then using Theil inequality statistics, the behavior validity of the model is also tested. Finally, some conclusions on the increased appeal for simulation models for energy policy analysis and design are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Qudrat-Ullah, Hassan & Seong, Baek Seo, 2010. "How to do structural validity of a system dynamics type simulation model: The case of an energy policy model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 2216-2224, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:5:p:2216-2224

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barlas, Yaman, 1989. "Multiple tests for validation of system dynamics type of simulation models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 59-87, September.
    2. Bunn, Derek W. & Larsen, Erik R., 1992. "Sensitivity of reserve margin to factors influencing investment behaviour in the electricity market of England and Wales," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 420-429, May.
    3. Richard L. Van Horn, 1971. "Validation of Simulation Results," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(5), pages 247-258, January.
    4. Oliva, Rogelio, 2003. "Model calibration as a testing strategy for system dynamics models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 151(3), pages 552-568, December.
    5. George B. Kleindorfer & Liam O'Neill & Ram Ganeshan, 1998. "Validation in Simulation: Various Positions in the Philosophy of Science," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1087-1099, August.
    6. Hassan Qudrat-Ullah, 2005. "MDESRAP: a model for understanding the dynamics of electricity supply, resources and pollution," International Journal of Global Energy Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 23(1), pages 1-14.
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    Energy Pakistan Structural validity;


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