Evaluation and design of innovation policies in the agro-food sector: An application of multilevel self-regulating agents
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SubjectAgent-based modelling; Agro-food sector; BDI; Complex systems dynamics; Innovation policy; JADEX
The aim of this paper is to explore the possibilities offered by agent-base modelling techniques in evaluating the impact of alternative sets of innovation policies on the system where these are implemented and on its actors. The policies selected for this exercise are inspired by the Regional Government's policy document - the Programme for Rural Development (2007-2013) of the Puglia Region, Italy. These regard, inter alia, the promotion of organic agriculture and GMO-free cultivar, the introduction of a zero-food-miles strategy and new regulations and controls to prevent food adulterations. The paper presents and discusses the results of the simulations showing a trade-off between alternative growth paths and the overall structure of the sector. A "light-touch approach" affects positively smallholdings, associations of micro-small enterprises and the local retail sector by promoting shorter and more rewarding routes to markets for food products. Pursuing the policies more aggressively, will shift the focus of economic activities towards larger enterprises in the primary sector, manufacturing and business services and towards the large distribution for retail, while smallholdings and associations of micro-small enterprises will be increasingly marginalised.
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