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

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  • John Tschirhart

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Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • John Tschirhart, 2003. "Ecological Transfers in Non-Human Communities Parallel Economic Markets in a General Equilibrium Ecosystem Model," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 193-214, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:5:y:2003:i:2:p:193-214
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1025867208909
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Victor Ginsburgh & Michiel Keyzer, 2002. "The Structure of Applied General Equilibrium Models," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262571579, January.
    2. 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.
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    6. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
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    8. Finnoff, David & Tschirhart, John, 2003. "Harvesting in an eight-species ecosystem," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 589-611, May.
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    10. Michael Ghiselin, 2000. "A Bibliography for Bioeconomics," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 233-270, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eichner, Thomas & Pethig, Rüdiger, 2009. "Pricing the ecosystem and taxing ecosystem services: A general equilibrium approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1589-1616, July.
    2. Thomas Christiaans & Thomas Eichner & Rüdiger Pethig, 2005. "A Micro-Level 'Consumer Approach' to Species Population Dynamics," CESifo Working Paper Series 1530, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Hussain, A.M. Tanvir & Tschirhart, John, 2013. "Economic/ecological tradeoffs among ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 116-127.
    4. Gutierrez, Andrew Paul & Regev, Uri, 2005. "The bioeconomics of tritrophic systems: applications to invasive species," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 383-396, February.
    5. repec:eee:ecomod:v:209:y:2007:i:2:p:235-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Finnoff, David & Tschirhart, John, 2008. "Linking dynamic economic and ecological general equilibrium models," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 91-114, May.

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