A modelling tool to improve the policy response on issues concerning children and young people




Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology


Peter Davis (Principal Investigator), Roy Lay-Yee, Janet Pearson, Oliver Mannion, Barry Milne, Karl Parker, Martin von Randow, Jessica McLay


University of Auckland: Tracey McIntosh, Louise Humpage

International Advisory Group

Professor Nigel Gilbert – University of Surrey

Professor Laurie Brown – National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling

Professor Klaus Troitzsch – University of Koblenz-Landau

Martin Spielauer – Statistics Canada

Dr Flaminio Squazzoni – Brescia University

Dr Dimitris Ballas – University of Sheffield


The aim of this project was to construct a computer-based simulation model as a decision-support tool for policymaking. This entailed building a model with microdata from existing longitudinal studies, to quantify, for policy purposes, the underlying drivers and determinants of progress in the early life-course.

The microsimulation model was released in a package we called JAMSIM (JAva MicroSIMulation), developed by our computer programmer, Oliver Mannion, an application for the execution, manipulation, and interrogation of microsimulation models by non-technical policy-orientated users. JAMSIM combined R to run the statistical models, and an agent-based modelling graphical tool using Java, Ascape. The basic source code of JAMSIM is now available through Github.


Milne B, Lay-Yee R, McLay J, Pearson J, von Randow M, Davis P (2015). Modelling the Early Life-Course (MELC): A microsimulation model of child development in New Zealand. International Journal of Microsimulation 8(2), 28–60. Online appendix.

McLay J, Lay-Yee R, Milne B, Davis P (2015). Regression-style models for parameter estimation in dynamic microsimulation: An empirical performance assessment. International Journal of Microsimulation 8(2), 83–127. Online appendix.

Lay-Yee R, Milne B, Davis P, Pearson J, McLay J (2015). Determinants and disparities: A simulation approach to the case of child health care. Social Science and Medicine 128: 202–211. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.01.025.

Milne B, Lay-Yee R, Thomas J, Tobias M, Tuohy P, Armstrong A, Lynn R, Davis P, Pearson J, Mannion O (2014). A collaborative approach to bridging the research-policy gap through the development of policy advice software. Evidence & Policy 10(1), 127–136.

Mannion O, Lay-Yee R, Wrapson W, Davis P, Pearson J (2012). JAMSIM: a Microsimulation Modelling Policy Tool. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 15(1) 8.