Connecting micro dynamics and population distributions in system dynamics models

Saeideh Fallah-Fini, Hazhir Rahmandad, Hsin Jen Chen, Hong Xue, Youfa Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Researchers use system dynamics models to capture the mean behavior of groups of indistinguishable population elements (e.g. people) aggregated in stock variables. Yet many modeling problems require capturing the heterogeneity across elements with respect to some attribute(s) (e.g. body weight). This paper presents a new method to connect the micro-level dynamics associated with elements in a population with the macro-level population distribution along an attribute of interest without the need to explicitly model every element. We apply the proposed method to model the distribution of body mass index and its changes over time in a sample population of American women obtained from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Comparing the results with those obtained from an individual-based model that captures the same phenomena shows that our proposed method delivers accurate results with less computation than the individual-based model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-215
Number of pages19
JournalSystem Dynamics Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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