Call for Papers: American Political Science Association 2011 Annual Convention

I would like to propose a panel for APSA 2011 on evidence-driven agent-based modeling, and invite fellow modelers to join me.  I have three proposals for the panel, but would welcome two or three more. 

If you're interesting in participating on the panel, of simply would like to serve as chair or discussant, please feel free to email me at [email protected]The deadline for proposals is Wednesday, December 15th.

Here’s a proposed abstract for the panel that ties our efforts to the conference’s theme of “The Politics of Rights”:

ABSTRACT:  The study of self governance, whether of common pool resources or clan relationships, fundamentally examines how people learn to balance individual rights with the rights of a community.  This panel brings together political methodologists who use empirical computational social science to study these self-governing social systems.  Computational social science uses evidence-driven induction to build computational models of social phenomenon that are “complex”–that is, characterized by many variables with interaction effects, adaptive behavior, and feedback from natural systems.  Whereas computational methods originally were abstract and similar to game theory, today researchers build computational models driven by empirical research.  By using empirical measures of real-world systems, field research to understand actors’ interests, and ethnographic mapping of social networks, empirical computational social science seeks to construct models with a high degree of “construct validity”—that is, the simulated causal processes characterize with a high degree of fidelity the causal processes in the empirical system.  While computational social science increasingly relies on evidence-driven modeling, however, researchers have yet to agree to protocols for validating models of self governance.  The contributions to this panel address how researchers can validate computer models.  In addition to developing definitions of validity, the researchers discuss a recent modeling competition in which researchers attempted to replicate empirical data about the foraging behavior of appropriators in a common pool resource.  This competition suggests one approach for validating computational models: researchers need a standard set of empirical test cases against which to test their approaches to modeling the emergence of self-governance.

Thanks for your consideration.

David C. Earnest, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science & International Studies
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia, USA