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Governing Social-Ecological Systems

In: Handbook of Computational Economics

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  • Janssen, Marco A.
  • Ostrom, Elinor

Abstract

Social-ecological systems are complex adaptive systems where social and biophysical agents are interacting at multiple temporal and spatial scales. The main challenge for the study of governance of social-ecological systems is improving our understanding of the conditions under which cooperative solutions are sustained, how social actors can make robust decisions in the face of uncertainty and how the topology of interactions between social and biophysical actors affect governance. We review the contributions of agent-based modeling to these challenges for theoretical studies, studies which combines models with laboratory experiments and applications of practical case studies.Empirical studies from laboratory experiments and field work have challenged the predictions of the conventional model of the selfish rational agent for common pool resources and public-good games. Agent-based models have been used to test alternative models of decision-making which are more in line with the empirical record. Those models include bounded rationality, other regarding preferences and heterogeneity among the attributes of agents. Uncertainty and incomplete knowledge are directly related to the study of governance of social-ecological systems. Agent-based models have been developed to explore the consequences of incomplete knowledge and to identify adaptive responses that limited the undesirable consequences of uncertainties. Finally, the studies on the topology of agent interactions mainly focus on land use change, in which models of decision-making are combined with geographical information systems.Conventional approaches in environmental economics do not explicitly include non-convex dynamics of ecosystems, non-random interactions of agents, incomplete understanding, and empirically based models of behavior in collective action. Although agent-based modeling for social-ecological systems is in its infancy, it addresses the above features explicitly and is therefore potentially useful to address the current challenges in the study of governance of social-ecological systems.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), 2006. "Handbook of Computational Economics," Handbook of Computational Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 2, number 2, 00.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Computational Economics with number 2-30.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:hecchp:2-30

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    Cited by:
    1. Jeroen Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary thinking in environmental economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 521-549, October.
    2. Carine Sebi & Laurent Muller & Alexis Garapin & Stefan Ambec, 2009. "Règlementation acceptable d’une ressource commune : une analyse expérimentale," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 190(4), pages 107-122.
    3. Ambec, S. & Garapin, A. & Muller, L. & Reynaud, A. & Sebi, C., 2013. "Comparing regulations to protect the commons: an experimental investigation," Working Papers 2013-07, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    4. Stefan Ambec & Alexis Garapin & Laurent Muller & Arnaud Reynaud & Carine Sebi, 2014. "Comparing Regulations to Protect the Commons: An Experimental Investigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(2), pages 219-244, June.
    5. Dominique Ami & Juliette Rouchier, 2014. "Mesures techniques, Choix Institutionnels et Equité dans l’usage d’une ressource commune : Le cas du littoral marseillais," AMSE Working Papers 1427, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Jun 2014.
    6. Tesfatsion, Leigh, 2006. "Agent-Based Computational Modeling And Macroeconomics," Staff General Research Papers 12402, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    7. Myong-Hun Chang & Joseph E Harrington Jr, 2004. "Agent-Based Models of Organizations," Economics Working Paper Archive 515, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    8. Happe, Kathrin & Balmann, Alfons, 2008. "Doing Policy In The Lab! Options For The Future Use Of Model-Based Policy Analysis For Complex Decision-Making," 107th Seminar, January 30-February 1, 2008, Sevilla, Spain 6588, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    9. Dominique Ami & Juliette Rouchier, 2014. "Mesures techniques, Choix Institutionnels et Equité dans l'usage d'une ressource commune : Le cas du littoral marseillais," Working Papers halshs-01004808, HAL.

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