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Ecological Transfers in Non-Human Communities Parallel Economic Markets in a General Equilibrium Ecosystem Model

  • John Tschirhart

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    Synopsis: The oft-cited analogies between ecological and economic systems are exploited to develop a many-species model of population dynamics. In economies, markets are the fundamental institutions in which the interaction of demands and supplies determine the quantities and prices of goods. However, economic markets are not appropriate for ecological communities, because markets rely on voluntary exchange, whereas plants and animals engage in involuntary transfers of biomass. A properly defined counterpart to markets based on biomass transfers permits a general equilibrium model of predator/prey and competitive interactions in a many-species community. Functional response from optimal foraging and predation risk provide the demand and supply, respectively, in the biomass transfers. Energy per unit time is scarce and predators and prey make optimum choices with respect to functional response and risk avoidance based on required energy expenditures. The energy expenditures are similar to economic prices: they determine foraging strategies and are beyond the control of the predators and prey, yet they are determined by the aggregate choices of all predators and prey and by population densities. The energies acquired from foraging are used in a new way to construct difference equations that determine the population dynamics. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1025867208909
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Bioeconomics.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 193-214

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:5:y:2003:i:2:p:193-214
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=103315

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    1. Michael Ghiselin, 2000. "A Bibliography for Bioeconomics," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 233-270, October.
    2. Arthur J. Robson, 2001. "The Biological Basis of Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 11-33, March.
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    4. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
    5. David Finnoff & John Tschirhart, 2003. "Protecting an Endangered Species While Harvesting Its Prey in a General Equilibrium Ecosystem Model," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(2), pages 160-180.
    6. Thomas Crocker & John Tschirhart, 1992. "Ecosystems, externalities, and economies," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(6), pages 551-567, November.
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    9. Victor Ginsburgh & Michiel Keyzer, 2002. "The Structure of Applied General Equilibrium Models," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262571579, June.
    10. Sandler, Todd & Tschirhart, John, 1997. "Club Theory: Thirty Years Later," Staff General Research Papers 1226, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    11. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1995. "Population Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262181606, June.
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