Modelling Awareness and Adoption: Aggregate Behaviour versus Agent-Based Interactions with Network Effects

Wild, Erin
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University of Guelph

We construct and examine a model of adoption of a product or policy using, firstly, a system of differential equations and then secondly, through simulation, an agent- based model. Awareness must come before adoption, and we model this as a simple epidemic type model, where information is spread through advertising and contact with other agents in the population. Adoption is then conditional on awareness and occurs only if the agent finds the perceived cost acceptable. After simulating the system using an agent-based model, we introduce heterogeneity through the model parameters, which are then considered individual attributes and include influence rates, effectiveness of advertising, price sensitivity, and speed of adoption. We also examine the effects of various network topologies by organizing individuals into lattice and preferential attachment networks. From there, we add two extra components to the adoption mechanism by introducing a social influence factor by which an agent can be influenced by the adoption patterns of their neighbourhood, as well as a green factor, which assumes an environmental product or policy being adopted and is the likelihood that an individual will adopt based on environmental reasons alone.

product adoption, agent-based model, differential equations, modelling, networks, social influence