COMPUTATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR ABSORPTIVE CAPACITY

2019-2022

Funded by the Office of Naval Research through the Minerva Research Initiative, this project looks at three case studies - Greece, Colombia, and South Africa - to understand how to support social stability in communities receiving a rapid, sudden population influx.

Mytilene Shoreline Protest Day.JPG
 

CASE STUDY COUNTRIES

LESVOS, GREECE

A small, island community familiar with seasonal tourists from Europe and beyond that became the epicenter of the migration towards Europe in 2015.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

As the land of opportunity in southern Africa, South Africa draw migrants towards it in great numbers. Still recovering from the structural inequalities of apartheid, South Africa struggles to meet the needs of its own citizens. Cape Town is one city that continues to battle with its own inequalities while accommodating thousands of migrants.

CUCUTA & BARRANQUILLA

One of the main border crossings between Venezuela and Colombia, the town of Cucuta sees thousands of people crossing daily either for goods to take back to Venezuela, to access critical services such as healthcare or food distribution programs, or to move onward for more opportunities in other cities or other South American countries

 

RELATED PUBLICATIONS - GREECE

THE RISE AND FALL OF HUMANITARIAN CITIZEN INITIATIVES: A SIMULATION-BASED APPROACH

In: Thomson R., Bisgin H., Dancy C., Hyder A., Hussain M. (eds) Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling. SBP-BRiMS 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12268. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61255-9_25

Citizen Initiatives for Global Solidarity (CIGS) are small, ad hoc, volunteer organizations that arise in certain humanitarian and development contexts. They operate outside of traditional aid structures and may or may not cooperate with traditional government and nongovernmental organizations. Using agent-based modeling, we derive narrative-based, qualitative scenarios from simulation data to extend the theoretical discussions of CIGS as a phenomenon. The scenarios allow further discussion of the role that CIGS may play as development and humanitarian response actors outside of the traditional context-specific descriptions of CIGS that permeate the development literature. We find that scenarios generated from the simulation data align somewhat with the qualitative researchers’ field observations, specifically in describing conditions under which some types of CIGS thrived while others failed. The points of departure from the model scenarios generated a dialogue that promises to further the theoretical and conceptual development of a generalizable framework for understanding CIGS as a phenomenon, which has been lacking in the field where most insights have been generated from country-specific, small sample case studies.

THE ROLE OF ELITES IN THE DIFFUSION OF SOCIAL NORMS OF HUMANITARIANISM

In Proceedings of the Annual Simulation Symposium, 1-12. Tucson, Arizona: Society for Computer Simulation International. DOI: 10.23919/SpringSim.2019.8732925

Certain social norms evolve without punishment as conventions that do not adversely affect society. In this paper, we depart from the notion that humanitarianism is one such social norm, where peer pressure may be the only type of punishment that encourages individuals to conform. Using an agent-based modeling approach, we examine the role that networked elites have in diffusing a non-punishment-enforced norm through an artificial society. The model considers norm advocates who promote a norm of humanitarianism, elites who have wide networks to spread the new norm, and general individuals who evaluate the norm pushed from elites and adopted by their peers. The study finds that, regardless of starting parameter values, the population converges into two groups: norm adopters and those who oppose the norm.

HOW DOES HUMANITARIANISM SPREAD? MODELING THE ORIGINS OF CITIZEN INITIATIVES THROUGH NORM DIFFUSION

Proceedings of the 2018 Winter Simulation Conference. Gothenburg, Sweden. December 9-12. DOI:10.1109/WSC.2018.8632287

This paper describes a prototype agent-based model used to explain why and how a norm of humanitarianism diffuses through a population. The model is constructed on norm diffusion theories as a foundation for developing explaining the emergence of Citizen Initiatives in a humanitarian and development context. We assume that in the model, some agents are already norm adopters (advocates), some have a humanitarian potential that can be activated with persuasion, while others will never adopt the norm of humanitarianism under any condition. In this model, we try to determine whether parameters such as agents' values, thresholds for accepting alternative values, values degradation, and peer-pressure affect agents' decision to become humanitarian activists.

 

RELATED PUBLICATIONS - COLOMBIA

COLOMBIA IS LETTING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VENEZUELANS STAY. WHAT CAN OTHER COUNTRIES LEARN?

The Monkey Cage @ The Washington Post

Based on our research interviews with stakeholders in Colombia, our take on the news of the ETPV program that gives temporary protections to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia.

COLOMBIA GIVES NEARLY 1 MILLION VENEZUELAN MIGRANTS LEGAL STATUS AND RIGHT TO WORK

The Conversation US

A brief analysis about how Colombia's experience with internal displacement due to conflict helped shape an effective response for the 1.7 million Venezuelan migrants who have arrived in the last five years.