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The effect of subsistence on collapse and institutional adaptation in population-resource societies

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  • Pezzey, John C. V.
  • Anderies, John M.

Abstract

We extend the Brander-Taylor model of population and resource development in an isolated society by adding a resource subsistence requirement to people's preferences. This improves plausibility; amplifies population overshoot and collapse, and makes the steady state less stable; and allows for complete cessation of non-harvesting activities, in line with archaeological evidence for many societies. We then use bifurcation techniques to give a global analysis of four types of institutional adaptation: an ad valorem resource tax, and quotas on total resource harvest, total harvest effort and per capita effort. In all cases we find that a higher subsistence requirement makes it harder, or often impossible, for adaptation to avoid overshoot and collapse.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 72 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 299-320

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:72:y:2003:i:1:p:299-320

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References

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  1. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1976. "Concepts of Optimality and Their Uses," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 421, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-38, March.
  3. Jon D. Erickson & John M. Gowdy, 2000. "Resource Use, Institutions, and Sustainability: A Tale of Two Pacific Island Cultures," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(3), pages 345-354.
  4. Reuveny, Rafael & Decker, Christopher S., 2000. "Easter Island: historical anecdote or warning for the future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 271-287, November.
  5. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
  6. R. Morris Coats & Thomas R. Dalton, 2000. "Could institutional reform have saved Easter Island?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(5), pages 489-505.
  7. Steger, Thomas M., 2000. "Economic growth with subsistence consumption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 343-361, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Barzin Pakandam, 2009. "Why Easter Island collapsed: an answer for an enduring question," Economic History Working Papers 27864, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  2. Horan, Richard D. & Shogren, Jason F. & Bulte, Erwin H., 2008. "Competitive Exclusion, Diversification, and the Origins of Agriculture," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6410, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  3. D'Alessandro, Simone, 2007. "Non-linear dynamics of population and natural resources: The emergence of different patterns of development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 473-481, May.
  4. Bulte, E.H. & Horan, R.D. & Shogren, J.F., 2006. "Megafauna extinction: A paleo-economic theory of human overkill in the Pleistocene," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-167611, Tilburg University.
  5. David, DE LA CROIX & Davide, DOTTORI, 2007. "Easter Island’s Collapse : A Tale of a Population Race," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2007005, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  6. James A. Brander, 2007. "Viewpoint: Sustainability: Malthus revisited?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(1), pages 1-38, February.
  7. Stefan Baumgaertner & Moritz A. Drupp & Martin F. Quaas, 2013. "Subsistence and substitutability in consumer preferences," Working Paper Series in Economics 290, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.

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