A Systems Framework for International Development: The Data-Layered Causal Loop Diagram

Resource type
Authors/contributors
Title
A Systems Framework for International Development: The Data-Layered Causal Loop Diagram
Abstract
Meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require adapting or redirecting a variety of very complex global and local human systems. It is essential that development scholars and practitioners have tools to understand the dynamics of these systems and the key drivers of their behavior, such as barriers to progress and leverage points for driving sustainable change. System dynamics tools are well suited to address this challenge, but they must first be adapted for the data-poor and fragmented environment of development work. Our key contribution is to extend the causal loop diagram (CLD) with a data layer that describes the status of and change in each variable based on available data. By testing dynamic hypotheses against the system's actual behavior, it enables analysis of a system's dynamics and behavioral drivers without simulation. The data-layered CLD was developed through a 4-year engagement with USAID/Uganda. Its contributions are illustrated through an application to agricultural financing in Uganda. Our analysis identified a lack of demand for agricultural loans as a major barrier to broadening agricultural financing, partially refuting an existing hypothesis that access to credit was the main constraint. Our work extends system dynamics theory to meet the challenges of this practice environment, enabling analysis of the complex dynamics that are crucial to achieving the SDGs.
Publication
Production and Operations Management
Volume
30
Issue
12
Pages
4374-4395
Date
2021
Language
en
ISSN
1937-5956
Short Title
A Systems Framework for International Development
Accessed
01/07/2022, 08:55
Library Catalog
Wiley Online Library
Citation
Blair, C., Gralla, E., Wetmore, F., Goentzel, J., & Peters, M. (2021). A Systems Framework for International Development: The Data-Layered Causal Loop Diagram. Production and Operations Management, 30(12), 4374–4395. https://doi.org/10.1111/poms.13492