Ecorys believes that quantitative modeling provides and important set of tools needed to answer policy-relevant socio-economic questions. Models are always an abstract of reality and come with limitations and assumptions. However, in recognizing those, modeling is an important tool to provide structured and insightful information. At Ecorys, we employ a three-level approach to tools and models for our consultants, in ascending order of complexity.
Level 1: simple and easy-to-use tools and models for basic calculations and generation of insights include the use of excel (spreadsheet) and relate to statistical and basic econometric analyses of data (e.g. finding trends and patterns in a dataset, interpreting and analyzing simple model outcomes or survey outcomes, or structured interview interpretation and categorization). Each Ecorys consultant should be able to engage in this kind of work.
Level 2: more complex tools and models for more in-depth analysis and a much deeper dig into the methodological approach to solving problems. This involves the use of tools like SPSS, E-views and STATA, as well as the following types of models: partial equilibrium models, cost-benefit analysis, econometric analysis, regression analysis, and the harmonic mass index. Roughly 40-50% of Ecorys consultants are familiar with one or the other tool set.
Level 3: the most complex sets of programmes and models are modeling languages like GAMS and GEMPACK, and relate to CGE models, Data Envelope Analysis, Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Modeling, large econometric models, etc. A smaller core group of dedicated quantitatively oriented consultants is able to run these models. Often we collaborate with associate experts (e.g. professors from universities) to push these models to their limits. They could for example be used for structural funds impact analyses, the impact of free trade agreements, and modeling aspects of environment and climate change.
Within Ecorys a Quantitative Methodologies Platform ensures a continuous focus on models and other quantitative approaches, and is open for all Ecorys consultants who are interested in quantitative analysis, to discusses and take forward models and approaches, and to help others to link the quantitative techniques to their applied use.