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Alternative methods of calculating optimal timber rotations: a critique of the Stokey/Lucas/Prescott tree-cutting problem


  • Victor Matheson


The traditional question of optimally deciding when to cut down a tree is among the most commonly posed questions asked of students learning the technique of dynamic programming. This paper shows that the traditional tree-cutting example is improperly formulated when the question of replanting is addressed, derives the proper method of finding optimal harvest length, and applies this method to an empirical forest growth function.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Matheson, 2009. "Alternative methods of calculating optimal timber rotations: a critique of the Stokey/Lucas/Prescott tree-cutting problem," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(10), pages 1079-1081.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:16:y:2009:i:10:p:1079-1081 DOI: 10.1080/13504850701335376

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan N. Houseman, 1993. "Job Security and Work Force Adjustment: How Different are U.S. and Japanese Practices?," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers,in: Christopher F. Buechtemann (ed.), Employment Security and Labor Market Behavior: Interdisciplinary Approaches and International Evidence, pages 180-199 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    2. Gerard A. Pfann & Franz C. Palm, 1993. "Asymmetric Adjustment Costs in Non-linear Labour Demand Models for the Netherlands and U.K. Manufacturing Sectors," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 397-412.
    3. Jaramillo, Fidel & Schiantarelli, Fabio & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 1993. "Are Adjustment Costs for Labor Asymmetric? An Econometric Test on Panel Data for Italy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 640-648, November.
    4. Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric & Pauchet, Marianne, 2001. "Fixed-term contracts and the dynamics of labour demand," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 533-552, March.
    5. Hildreth, Andrew K. G. & Ohtake, Fumio, 1998. "Labor Demand and the Structure of Adjustment Costs in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 131-150, June.
    6. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1989. "Labor Demand and the Structure of Adjustment Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 674-689, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thang, Tran Cong & Burton, Michael P. & Brennan, Donna C., 2009. "Optimal replanting and cutting rule for coffee farmers in Vietnam," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 47638, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry


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