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On the Mitra–Wan forestry model: A unified analysis


  • Ali Khan, M.
  • Piazza, Adriana


We present a substantive and far-reaching generalization of the principal results in the economics of forestry, as formalized by Mitra and Wan (1986). Rather than a polarized dichotomy of linear and strictly concave, differentiable benefit (felicity) functions, we develop the theory in the context of functions that are supported at the golden-rule consumption and are not necessarily concave. Through a non-interiority condition on the set of zeroes of a resulting “discrepancy function,” we show the equivalence of finitely-maximal, maximal, minimal value-loss and optimal programs, and thereby answer questions left open by Brock and Mitra. Our synthesizing criterion is new to the capital theory literature, and in the concave setting, proves to be necessary and sufficient for the asymptotic convergence of good programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Ali Khan, M. & Piazza, Adriana, 2012. "On the Mitra–Wan forestry model: A unified analysis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(1), pages 230-260.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:1:p:230-260 DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2011.11.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tapan Mitra & Henry Y. Wan, 1985. "Some Theoretical Results on the Economics of Forestry," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 263-282.
    2. Kaushik Basu & Tapan Mitra, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1557-1563, September.
    3. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, July.
    4. Mitra, Tapan, 1983. "Sensitivity of optimal programs with respect to changes in target stocks: The case of irreversible investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 172-184, February.
    5. Salo, Seppo & Tahvonen, Olli, 2002. "On Equilibrium Cycles and Normal Forests in Optimal Harvesting of Tree Vintages," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-22, July.
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    7. Ronald Wendner, 2003. "Existence, uniqueness, and stability of equilibrium in an OLG economy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 23(1), pages 165-174, December.
    8. Mitra, Tapan & Wan, Henry Jr., 1986. "On the faustmann solution to the forest management problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 229-249, December.
    9. Adriana Piazza, 2009. "The optimal harvesting problem with a land market: a characterization of the asymptotic convergence," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 40(1), pages 113-138, July.
    10. Mitra, Tapan & Ray, Debraj & Roy, Rahul, 1991. "The economics of orchards: An exercise in point-input, flow-output capital theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 12-50, February.
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    12. M. Ali Khan & Tapan Mitra, 2005. "On choice of technique in the Robinson-Solow-Srinivasan model," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 1(2), pages 83-110.
    13. Miller, Robert A. & Voltaire, Karl, 1980. "A sequential stochastic tree problem," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 135-140.
    14. Nyarko, Yaw & Olson, Lars J., 1991. "Stochastic dynamic models with stock-dependent rewards," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 161-168, October.
    15. M. Ali Khan & Adriana Piazza, 2010. "On uniform convergence of undiscounted optimal programs in the Mitra-Wan forestry model: The strictly concave case," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 6(1), pages 57-76.
    16. Hartl, Richard F. & Kort, Peter M., 2003. "History dependence without unstable steady state: a non-differentiable framework," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 891-900, November.
    17. Samuelson, Paul A, 1976. "Economics of Forestry in an Evolving Society," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 466-492, December.
    18. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
    19. Salo, Seppo & Tahvonen, Olli, 2003. "On the economics of forest vintages," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1411-1435, June.
    20. Peleg, Bezalel, 1973. "A Weakly Maximal Golden-Rule Program for a Multi-Sector Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 574-579, October.
    21. Li, Jinlu & Lin, Shuanglin, 2008. "Existence and uniqueness of steady-state equilibrium in a two-sector overlapping generations model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 141(1), pages 255-275, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabbri, Giorgio & Faggian, Silvia & Freni, Giuseppe, 2015. "On the Mitra–Wan forest management problem in continuous time," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 1001-1040.
    2. Ali Khan, M. & Schlee, Edward E., 2017. "The nonconcavity of money-metric utility: A new formulation and proof," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 10-12.
    3. Khan, M. Ali, 2016. "On a forest as a commodity and on commodification in the discipline of forestry," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 7-17.
    4. Silvia Faggian & Giuseppe Freni, 2015. "A Ricardian Model of Forestry," Working Papers 2015:12, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari", revised 2015.

    More about this item


    Forest management; Good programs; Finitely-maximal programs; Maximal programs; Optimal programs; Value-loss; Discrepancy function; Non-interiority; Asymptotic convergence;

    JEL classification:

    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry


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