The methodological innovation of the SUSPENS project lies in the construction of a dataset and microsimulation model that connect social and environmental variables while remaining entirely grounded at the micro-level of the individual household. This method allows for a combined assessment of social and environmental policy rules, variables and outcomes, on the basis of a representative sample of households, taking account of the diversity and heterogeneity in the population (in contrast to median or average representative consumer models). The explicit aim with this micro-based method is to capture differential attributes and outcomes across the population, and thereby to improve the understanding of the distributive mechanisms and effects, which generate or strengthen socio-environmental inequalities between households. Our aim with this method is to add the socio-economic dimension to the evaluation of different pathways of low-carbon transitions. This statistical capacity building exercise can inform evidence-based policies that focus on the consumption patterns of households and their environmental impact.
The dialogue with policymakers is taken up throughout the research project, aiming to inform societal actors and participate in the public debate.