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Model-based policy impact assessment

Reducing complexity to quantify policy impacts

We support policy decision makers with model-based analyses and recommendations such that they can competently decide on questions relevant for agriculture.

The policies relevant for agriculture are changing continuously. Therefore, policy makers and scientists have a great need to quantify the impacts of policy changes. For this purpose, models, as simplified reproductions of the reality, are important tools. The Thünen model network further develops Farm, Regional, Sector as well as Partial and General Equilibrium Models to apply them for policy impact analyses.

In the Thünen Institute of Rural Studies, the model RAUMIS (Regionalised Agricultural and Environmental Information System for Germany) is continuously being further developed. Applying this model, we assess the impact of changing framework conditions, agricultural and environmental measures as well as rural development policies in Germany on

  • agricultural land use,
  • production structures (plant and animal production),
  • income as well as
  • the environment.

A specific characteristic of the model is that it depicts agriculture consistent with the National Agricultural Accounts at the sectoral level and spatially differentiated. The model quantifies the impact of agriculture on the environment using specific environmental indicators like nitrogen balances and greenhouse gas emissions.

RAUMIS has been used since the 1990s and permanently further developed for scientific policy advice, e.g., in the context of reforms of the EU Common Agricultural Policy or for projections such as the Thünen Baseline 2013-2023. Further fields of application concern water protection, climate protection, and the production of renewable energy.

Our experience has shown that the results of model-based policy impact assessments are regarded as a valuable support by decision makers when a close and trustful collaboration preceded the analyses, e.g., regarding assumptions that underlie the models and scenarios. Likewise, it is confidence-building to discuss the validity of model results and their limitations. In addition, the results must, in due time, be made available in the policy decision process.


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