TD 604: System Dynamics & Social Science Research Methods (Spring 2012)

I am teaching the System Dynamics part of this course.

Schedule: Lecture Slot 8 in LTC 21
Instructor: Om Damani
TA: Harit Shelat
Moodle: Slides, Assignments, Solution, Newsgroup etc.

Audit Requirements: You have to do all the assignments. There will be at least one assignment per week.


1. Sterman, John D. Business Dynamics : Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World, Indian Edition - Tata Mcgraw Hill : 2010.
2. Ford, Andrew. Modeling the Environment, Island Press : 2010, 2nd Ed., In library.
3. Morecroft, John. Strategic Modelling and Business Dynamics : a Feedback Systems Approach John Wiley : 2007, In library.


Syllabus and Lecture Outline


1) Introduction to Systems Thinking: What is Systems Dynamics. Event based vs. System Based view of the world. (Examples: Ban Endosulfin , Promote Bamboo based housing in Waynad , Build a new airport , introduce motorized fishing to increase community income )

2) Feedback Systems Thinking/Causal Loop Diagrams: Causality, Causal Chains, Causal Loop Diagrams, meaning of links and polarities on links, loop polarities

3) Stock and Flow: notion of stock, rate of change, conservation of stock, system boundary - sources and sinks for flows, tangible vs intangible stocks

Software Support

4) Computer Simulation: Vensim, notations, balancing the units

5) Playing with Vensim: what happens to your stocks as time progresses, introduction to goal-seeking and other modes of dynamic behaviour

Advanced Issues

6) Fundamental modes of dynamic behavior: Exponential growth, Goal seeking, Oscillation, S-shaped growth, Equilibrium

7) Nonlinear relationships, Delays, and, Qualitative variables: Table functions, Multipliers

8) Team model building: Aim of team model building, role of facilitator

9) Validating the model

10) Limitations of SD

Village Dynamics

11)An example Village Model as a Case Study: Introduction to Subba-Raju Model, High level diagram: Inter-sector dependencies

12) Drilling Down: Detailed discussion of each sector

13-14)A variety of village models

15-16) NREGS (National Rural Employment Guaruntee Scheme) and its impact on Village Dynamics