Feasibility study: Modeling climate adaptation measures: Actors, decisions and effectiveness

Approaches and methods of quantitative policy modeling to assess the effectiveness of climate change adaptation policy instruments in Germany

Problem statement

The societal efforts required to address the social, environmental and economic challenges triggered by the global climate crisis are enormous. Policy decisions and processes to address these challenges are highly complex. In this context, the question arises how effective existing and new policy instruments and measures are and whether they trigger undesired side effects. A very helpful instrument of policy consulting is, for example, the modeling of public policy and strategy processes, which has experienced an enormous professionalization and importance in the last 20 years (1). Public policy modeling consists of a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches (e.g., from the field of social simulation and policy modeling), which aim to provide a better understanding of complex dynamics and thus a better assessment of the range of possible developments.

Project Content

In this context, the project addresses the question of which methods and approaches of quantitative modeling are suitable to represent social systems (e.g. the behavior of individuals and society to a new policy instrument) and their dynamics in order to test the efficacy of policy instruments. Agent-based modeling or system dynamics approaches are examples. The project focuses on the policy field of climate change adaptation in Germany and examines the transferability of approaches and methods of quantitative modeling from other policy fields to the field of climate change adaptation. The approach is as follows:

  1. Researching existing approaches and methods of quantitative modeling for the effectiveness analysis of policy instruments.
  2. To examine the transferability of existing models for effectiveness assessments of policy instruments from other policy fields to the field of climate change adaptation.
  3. To exemplarily apply such methods and approaches to three policy instruments of climate change adaptation and to examine the existing data basis for the quantification of such models.

The findings will be vividly presented in a concept for policy consulting that will serve as a basis for using modeling and simulation methods to evaluate policy instruments in the field of climate change adaptation. Finally, these findings will be summarized in a factsheet.

Research Questions

Which methods, approaches and procedures of quantitative modeling and simulation of social dynamic systems are suitable for the effectiveness analysis of policy instruments in the field of climate change adaptation?

What are the limitations and difficulties to implement them in climate change adaptation policy advice?

Is the data basis sufficient to quantify such models?

How high is the effort of such modeling processes?


(1) Umweltbundesamt (Hrsg): Strategische Vorausschau in der Politikberatung, Umweltforschungsplan des Bundesministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit, Umweltbundesamt Dessau-Roßlau, 2016.

(2) Furtado, B.A.; Fuentes, M.A.; Tessone, C.J.: Policy Modeling and Applica-tions: State-of-the-Art and Perspectives. Complexity 2019, 2019, 1-11, doi:10.1155/2019/5041681

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.