Using complexity science to understand social problems – Netherlands Central Bureau for Statistics

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Using complexity science to understand social problems

Using complexity science to understand social problems

26/01/2021 10:00

Frank Pijpers
© Sjoerd van der Hucht Fotografie / My Eyes4u productions

On 1 January 2021, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) senior methodologist Frank Pijpers was appointed Professor of Complexity for Official Statistics at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In this position he will seek to build a bridge between CBS and science in the area of complexity theory.

The economy, the climate and social networks are all examples of complex systems made up of many components that interact with one another and are connected in networks. Complexity theory examines the collective behaviour that characterises such a system, which may be the spread of infections or the dissemination of opinions. Pijpers: ‘This can lead to a better understanding of important phenomena in society and the economy. This theory is interesting for CBS as it allows complex phenomena to be more effectively described from a statistical perspective. This is why the topic of complexity has been part of the CBS research programme since 2016.’ Pijpers is the manager of this research programme.

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Using complexity science to understand social problems