“All politics is local.”

Tip O’Neill’s famous quote is a pithy way to introduce the topic of integrating real-world data into agent-based modeling research. O’Neill’s truism stresses that politicians have to know their constituents in order to win elections, and that these constituents are primary concerned about local issues. For example, what matters to a person in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to Harvard and MIT, often is very different from what matters to a resident in blue-collar south Boston, where up to 75% of households earn less than $30,000 per year.

If one accepts the premise that local issues are defined in large measure by local institutions, demographics, and economic conditions—all of which vary from place to place—then the implication is that all politics is spatial. … [download the article to continue reading]

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