Skip to main content

Using An Agent-Based Model to Test Institutional Variation: Creating a Counterfactual World

By: Debra Leiter & Jack Reilly Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Political Science and International Relations
+- LessMore information
Search form
No results
Not Found
Download Case PDF


When examining institutions, we often wish we could create a counterfactual world—a world where everything but the institution itself is the same. Using agent-based models—computational models where we assign computer agents simple rules in a world we create and watch them interact—allows us to create and re-create the world as we see fit. Examining how party system size affects the way in which networks influence voter turnout, we use an extension of Fowler’s Turnout in A Small World agent-based model to show that third-party entry can have a negative effect on turnout. We then test an element of the model using empirical (observable) data.

Looks like you do not have access to this content.

Methods Map

Experimental design

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website