Easter Island’s Collapse : A Tale of a Population Race
The Easter Island tragedy has become an allegory for ecological catastrophe and a warning for the future. In the economic literature the collapse is usually attributed to irrational or myopic behaviors in the context of a fragile ecosystem. In this paper we propose an alternative story involving non-cooperative bargaining between clans to share the crop. Each clan’s bargaining power depends on its threat level when fighting a war. The biggest group has the highest probability of winning. A clan’s fertility is determined ex ante by each group. In the quest for greater bargaining power, each clan’s optimal size depends on that of the other clan, and a population race follows. This race may exhaust the natural resources and lead to the ultimate collapse of the society. In addition to well-known natural factors, the likelihood of a collapse turns out to be greater when the cost of war is low, the probability of succeeding in war is highly responsive to the number of fighters, and the marginal return to labor is not too low. We analyze whether these factors can account for the difference between Easter and Tikopia Islands. The paper also makes a methodological contribution in that it is the first fertility model to include strategic complementarities between groups’ fertility decisions
|Date of creation:||01 Mar 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Fax: +32 10473945
Web page: http://www.uclouvain.be/econ
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Münster, Johannes & Staal, Klaas, 2005. "War with Outsiders Makes Peace Inside," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 75, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
- Jon D. Erickson & John M. Gowdy, 2000. "Resource Use, Institutions, and Sustainability: A Tale of Two Pacific Island Cultures," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(3), pages 345-354.
- Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1991. "Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1029-59, October.
- John C. V. Pezzey & John M. Anderies, 2002.
"The Effect of Subsistence on Collapse and Institutional Adaptation in Population-resource Societies,"
Economics and Environment Network Working Papers
0201, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
- Pezzey, John C. V. & Anderies, John M., 2003. "The effect of subsistence on collapse and institutional adaptation in population-resource societies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 299-320, October.
- Maxwell, John W. & Reuveny, Rafael, 2005.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 30-52, September.
- Hirshleifer, Jack, 1991. "The Technology of Conflict as an Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 130-34, May.
- Pierre Lasserre & Antoine Soubeyran, 2001.
"A Ricardian Model of the Tragedy of the Commons,"
CIRANO Working Papers
- Pierre Lasserre & Antoine Soubeyran, 2001. "A Ricardian Model of the tragedy of the Commons," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 20-01, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
- Barro, Robert J., 1974.
"Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?,"
3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-38, March.
- Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2006. "The Galor-Weil Model Revisited: A Quantitative Exercise," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(1), pages 116-142, January.
- Stergios Skaperdas, 1996.
"Contest success functions (*),"
Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-290.
- Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
- Anderies, John M., 2000. "On modeling human behavior and institutions in simple ecological economic systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 393-412, December.
- Harford, Jon D., 2000. "Methods of pricing common property use and some implications for optimal child-bearing and the social discount rate," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 103-124, May.
- R. Morris Coats & Thomas R. Dalton, 2000. "Could institutional reform have saved Easter Island?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(5), pages 489-505.
- Reuveny, Rafael & Decker, Christopher S., 2000. "Easter Island: historical anecdote or warning for the future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 271-287, November.
- Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
- Dalton, Thomas R. & Coats, R. Morris & Asrabadi, Badiollah R., 2005. "Renewable resources, property-rights regimes and endogenous growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 31-41, January.
- D'Alessandro, Simone, 2007. "Non-linear dynamics of population and natural resources: The emergence of different patterns of development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 473-481, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ctl:louvec:2007005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anne DAVISTER-LOGIST)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.