Assessing and Changing Population Behavior

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The IRS project explores the feasibility of using computer simulations and computer based decision support tools to address present and future taxpayer needs via the delivery of IRS services. The goal of this project is to help IRS decision-makers choose the service or combination of services that most effectively improve taxpayer compliance. Our approach generally involves simulating how the populations of U.S. cities respond to IRS service bundles.

To do this, we augment IRS data on taxpayer behavior with census data that reflects city population characteristics. Using the augmented data, we build populations of agents for each city and then overlay a theory-based social network on the agents to account for the effects of networks on information diffusion throughout a population. The samples of agents representing real-world cities, along with IRS services of interest, are submitted to a multi-agent simulator, Construct, to obtain data regarding taxpayer compliance. Finally, the results of the simulations, along with sociodemographic data from the census, are placed into the SmartCard to provide decision support to IRS personnel.