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Suggested Citation:"Other Software Facilities." National Research Council. 1991. Improving Information for Social Policy Decisions -- The Uses of Microsimulation Modeling: Volume II, Technical Papers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1853.
Page 160

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FUTURE COMPUTING ENVIRONMENTS FOR MICROSIMULATION MODELING 160 parameters labeled and arranged in sections, and may be viewed on the screen or printed if desired. A file containing control parameters is always produced. The current run can thus be duplicated using the output control parameter file in a subsequent run. If the user has modified database adjustment parameters or tax/ transfer parameters in the user dialogue, an output parameter file of the appropriate type, including the specified changes, is also produced. Case-by-case results are useful for a number of reasons. The SPSD/M Text Output Facility can be used to create a character file that contains microdata information as input to other software programs such as a spreadsheet or database. Four different text output formats are supported. Case-by-case results can also be saved in an SPSD/M result file, which uses the same data compression techniques as the SPSD database. These result files are readable only by SPSD/M and are used as input to SPSM to provide base model result variable values. The microcomputer version of SAS contains extensive facilities for analysis, reporting, and manipulating microdata files. To take advantage of these facilities, SPSD/M can produce a fully documented output file in native SAS format. As a result, data can be made accessible to SAS without the awkwardness of dealing with character file layouts or the inefficiency of SAS reading the character file and converting it to its binary format. Finally, easy-to-read household reports showing results of operating characteristics can be printed or viewed on the screen for debugging or other analytical purposes. Auxiliary Models The SPSD/M package includes in the tax/transfer parameters a set of effective sales tax rates that are applied to each household's expenditure vector to compute consumable income. The commodity tax input/output (COMTAX) model converts commodity taxes levied at the industry level into retail-equivalent effective sales tax rates. COMTAX can be used to simulate alternate commodity tax proposals. It produces as one of its outputs the necessary parameter statements to be used by SPSD/M. As of September 1991 the COMTAX model had not yet been released by Statistics Canada. Other Software Facilities The SPSD/M package includes several other software programs that enhance its usefulness. Spreadsheet interface tools provide the user with an interface between SPSD/M tables and the Lotus 1–2–3 spreadsheet package. A spreadsheet template allows the user to examine the built-in or custom tables from one or two SPSM runs. The parameter file comparison utility compares two parameter files and produces a report detailing their differences. Programming tools included with the package include a utility to search files for a given string (GREP), a

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This volume, second in the series, provides essential background material for policy analysts, researchers, statisticians, and others interested in the application of microsimulation techniques to develop estimates of the costs and population impacts of proposed changes in government policies ranging from welfare to retirement income to health care to taxes.

The material spans data inputs to models, design and computer implementation of models, validation of model outputs, and model documentation.

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