Causal Loop Diagramming of Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19: State-of-the-Art, Gaps and Good Practices

Strelkovskii, N. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6862-1768 & Rovenskaya, E. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2761-3443 (2021). Causal Loop Diagramming of Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19: State-of-the-Art, Gaps and Good Practices. Systems 9 (3) e65. 10.3390/systems9030065.

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Abstract

The complexity, multidimensionality, and persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted both researchers and policymakers to turn to transdisciplinary methods in dealing with the wickedness of the crisis. While there are increasing calls to use systems thinking to address the intricacy of COVID-19, examples of practical applications of systems thinking are still scarce. We revealed and reviewed eight studies which developed causal loop diagrams (CLDs) to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a broader socioeconomic system. We find that major drivers across all studies are the magnitude of the infection spread and government interventions to curb the pandemic, while the most impacted variables are public perception of the pandemic and the risk of infection. The reviewed COVID-19 CLDs consistently exhibit certain complexity patterns, for example, they contain a higher number of two- and three-element feedback loops than comparable random networks. However, they fall short in representing linear complexity such as multiple causes and effects, as well as cascading impacts. We also discuss good practices for creating and presenting CLDs using the reviewed diagrams as illustration. We suggest that increasing transparency and rigor of the CLD development processes can help to overcome the lack of systems thinking applications to address the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: causal loop diagram; systems thinking; COVID-19; network theory
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Cooperation and Transformative Governance (CAT)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2021 12:04
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 11:28
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/17401

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