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Threshold management in a coupled economic–ecological system

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  • Chen, Yong
  • Jayaprakash, Ciriyam
  • Irwin, Elena

Abstract

Economic analysis of optimal ecosystem management in the presence of a threshold has typically ignored the potential for induced behavioral responses. This paper contributes to the literature on non-convex ecosystem management by considering the implications of a particular behavioral response in a regional economy – that of amenity-led growth – to changes in ecosystem services generated by a lake ecosystem subject to a eutrophication threshold. The essential policy challenge is to achieve optimal levels of lake nutrients and urbanization given that improvements to water quality will induce additional migration and urbanization in the region with attendant ecological impacts. We show that policies that ignore the recursive relationship between urbanization and water quality unintentionally exacerbate boom-bust cycles of regional growth and decline and risk pushing the system towards long-run economic decline. In contrast, the optimal policy accounts for the behavioral feedbacks to improved ecosystem services, and balances regional growth and ecological degradation.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Yong & Jayaprakash, Ciriyam & Irwin, Elena, 2012. "Threshold management in a coupled economic–ecological system," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 442-455.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:64:y:2012:i:3:p:442-455
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2012.04.003
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    2. Hyytiainen, Kari & Ahlvik, Lassi & Ahtiainen, Heini & Artell, Janne & Dahlbo, Kim & Huhtala, Anni, 2013. "Spatially explicit bio-economic modelling for the Baltic Sea: Do the benefits of nutrient abatement outweigh the costs?," Discussion Papers 160728, MTT Agrifood Research Finland.
    3. Yeh, D. Adeline & Gomez, Miguel I. & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia, 2020. "Sustainable Pest Management Under Uncertainty: A Dynamic Bioeconomic Analysis of Lowbush Blueberry Production," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304326, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Kari Hyytiäinen & Lassi Ahlvik & Heini Ahtiainen & Janne Artell & Anni Huhtala & Kim Dahlbo, 2015. "Policy Goals for Improved Water Quality in the Baltic Sea: When do the Benefits Outweigh the Costs?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 61(2), pages 217-241, June.
    5. Alan Randall, 2014. "Weak sustainability, conservation and precaution," Chapters, in: Giles Atkinson & Simon Dietz & Eric Neumayer & Matthew Agarwala (ed.),Handbook of Sustainable Development, chapter 10, pages 160-172, Edward Elgar Publishing.

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