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The MicSim Package of R: An Entry-Level Toolkit for Continuous-Time Microsimulation


  • Sabine Zinn

    () (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


High entry barriers might discourage many social scientists from using existing microsimulation software. This article presents the functionality and capabilities of the free and open source R package MicSim which allows performing continuous-time microsimulation at a very fine-grained level from a low level entry point. Hence, the package might also be of interest to people who are new to R. The package implements a generic microsimulation model for a wide range of demographic applications. Its central device is the individual life-course, which is defined by the sequence of states the individual visits over time and the intervals between the transitions from one state to another. The MicSim model is by design a discrete-event simulation model in which a demographic event implies a change in the state of an individual. The considered population is open and life-courses are specified to evolve along three continuous time scales: individual age, calendar time, and the time that an individual has already spent in the current state. The stochastic model of the microsimulation is parameterized with a base population, transition rates, and (if applicable) a population of migrants. Besides stochastic events, the package allows specifying deterministic events such as enrollment of children in elementary school. Example applications illustrate the capabilities of the package.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabine Zinn, 2014. "The MicSim Package of R: An Entry-Level Toolkit for Continuous-Time Microsimulation," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 7(3), pages 3-32.
  • Handle: RePEc:ijm:journl:v:7:y:2014:i:3:p:3-32

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    File URL: http://www.microsimulation.orgt/IJM/V7_3/2IJM_7_3_Zinn.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Andreas Diekmann & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2004. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Fifteen-Country Study with the Fertility and Family Survey," ETH Zurich Sociology Working Papers 4, ETH Zurich, Chair of Sociology, revised Mar 2008.
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