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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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Suggested Citation

  • Pezzey, John C. V. & Anderies, John M., 2003. "The effect of subsistence on collapse and institutional adaptation in population-resource societies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 299-320, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:72:y:2003:i:1:p:299-320
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 119-138, March.
    2. Koopmans, Tjalling C, 1977. "Concepts of Optimality and Their Uses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 261-274, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Steger, Thomas M., 2000. "Economic growth with subsistence consumption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 343-361, August.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Croix & Davide Dottori, 2008. "Easter Island’s collapse: a tale of a population race," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 27-55, March.
    2. repec:kap:enreec:v:69:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0068-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bulte, Erwin & Horan, Richard D. & Shogren, Jason F., 2006. "Megafauna extinction: A paleoeconomic theory of human overkill in the pleistocene," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 297-323, March.
    4. James A. Brander, 2007. "Viewpoint: Sustainability: Malthus revisited?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(1), pages 1-38, February.
    5. 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).
    6. Richard D. Horan & Jason F. Shogren & Erwin Bulte, 2003. "A Paleoeconomic Theory of Co-Evolution and Extinction of Domesticable Animals," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(2), pages 131-148, May.
    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.
    8. Moritz A. Drupp, 2018. "Limits to Substitution Between Ecosystem Services and Manufactured Goods and Implications for Social Discounting," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 69(1), pages 135-158, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Pakandam, Barzin, 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.
    11. Cyrus Chu, C.Y. & Lai, Ching-Chong & Liao, Chih-Hsing, 2014. "How could the non-sustainable Easter Island have been sustained?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 161-174.
    12. Nagase, Yoko & Uehara, Takuro, 2011. "Evolution of population-resource dynamics models," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 9-17.
    13. repec:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9976-z is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Roman, Sabin & Bullock, Seth & Brede, Markus, 2017. "Coupled Societies are More Robust Against Collapse: A Hypothetical Look at Easter Island," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 264-278.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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