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Resource Use, Institutions, and Sustainability: A Tale of Two Pacific Island Cultures

  • Jon D. Erickson
  • John M. Gowdy

This paper examines two Pacific Island cultures, Easter Island and Tikopia, and the relationship between natural resource systems, human-made capital, population growth, and institutional change. Easter Island followed a preindustrial society pattern of overshoot-and collapse. However, Tikopia evolved cultural practices leading to zero-population growth and sustainable resource use. Using a modified Lotka- Volterra, predator-prey model, we find (1) investment in human-made capital does not necessarily eliminate the boom- and bust-cycles of economic activity and population observed in many past societies; and (2) institutional adaptation and resource conservation can be critical in achieving population stability.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Land Economics.

Volume (Year): 76 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 345-354

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:76:y:2000:i:3:p:345-354
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