Invited commentary: Rescuing Robinson Crusoe

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Estimating the independent effect of "place" on health outcomes has proven quite difficult. In this issue of the Journal, Auchincloss and Diez Roux contribute a lucid introduction to agent-based simulation models and argue that they may be a fruitful alternative to current approaches to the problem. Insofar as conceptual understanding must precede empirical investigation, this author agrees. Given the obvious shortcoming of pure simulations, the key benefit of agent-based models lies in their ability to alter our thinking and/or theory. Among other things, the approach permits analysts to model (i.e., conceptualize) system dynamics, more realistic social treatment effects, endogenous contexts, and a more congenial image of human behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-12
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Computer simulation
  • Environment and public health
  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Health behavior
  • Models, theoretical
  • Residence characteristics
  • Systems theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Invited commentary: Rescuing Robinson Crusoe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this