Exploration of the effects of epidemics on the regional socio-economics: a modelling approach
Pandemics, in addition to affecting the health of populations, can have huge impacts on their social and economic behavior. These factors, on the other hand, have the potential to feed back to and influence the disease spreading. It is important to systematically study these interrelations, to determine which ones have significant effects, and whether the effects are adverse or beneficial. Our recently developed epidemic model with agent-based and geographical elements is used in this study for such a purpose. We perform an extensive parameter space exploration of the socio-economic part of the model, including factors like the attitudes (called values) of the agents towards the disease spreading, health, economic situation, and regulations by government agents. We search for prominent patterns from the resulting simulated data using basic classification tools, namely self-organizing maps and principal component analysis. We seek to isolate the most important value parameters of the population and government agents influencing the disease spreading speed and patterns, and monitor different quantities of the model output, such as infection rates, the propagation speed of the epidemic, economic activity, government regulations, and the compliance ofopulation. Out of these, the ones describing the epidemic spreading were resulting in the most distinctive clustering of the data, and they were selected as the basis of the remaining analysis. We relate the found clusters to three distinct types of disease spreading: wave-like, chaotic, and transitional spreading patterns. The most important value parameter contributing to phase changes between these phases was found to be the compliance of the population agents towards the government regulations. Our thorough mapping of the model parameters confirms our earlier hypotheses. In compliant populations, the infection rates are significantly lower and the infection spreading is slower, while the population agents’ health and economical attitudes show a weaker effect.