Abstract for: A Systems Dynamics Approach to Assessing Policies to Tackle Alcohol Misuse

This paper proposes a systems approach to tackling alcohol misuse based on System Dynamics modelling. The problem of binge drinking in the UK is first described along with its negative impact on health, society and the economy. A review of the current literature follows, and the systemic nature of the problem explained. System dynamics is proposed as a holistic approach to investigate the problematic situation. The paper describes the development of an initial influence diagram for alcohol misuse that captures the significant factors affecting the problem. The utility of this approach is demonstrated through a simulation model built based on the influence diagram. The simulation model acts as a vehicle for experimentation and testing of several possible policy options. This is shown through the several scenarios of possible interventions by the government to compare the potential impact and costs of each scenario. The paper concludes with a review of the findings and directions for further research.