Title: Experimentation with household dynamics: the consumat approach

Authors: Wander Jager, Marco A. Janssen, Charles Viek

Addresses: Faculty of Management and Organisation, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands. Department of Spatial Economics, Free University, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Centre for Environmental and Traffic Psychology (COV), University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 211, 9712 TS Groningen, The Netherlands

Abstract: Despite the abundance of empirical data on household energy consumption, it is hard to predict future developments because of the complexity of the household system. Multi-agent simulation offers a tool to get a better understanding of the relevant behavioural dynamics of the household system. This would allow for an early diagnosis and response to unwanted developments. A computer simulation of consumer behaviour has been developed on the basis of a meta-model of behaviour, which integrates various relevant behavioural theories. This so-called consumat approach has been applied to issues such as the lock-in of consumption patterns and the management of a common resource, and has been applied in an integrated ecological-economic model. This paper discusses the basic principles of the consumat approach, summarises some results, and draws conclusions with respect to the application of this approach in the domain of household consumption.

Keywords: behavioural dynamics; consumat; consumer behaviour; household consumption; modelling; multi-agent simulation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSD.2001.001548

International Journal of Sustainable Development, 2001 Vol.4 No.1, pp.90-100

Published online: 04 Jul 2003 *

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