Economic Profitability Versus Ecological Entropy
There is a long-standing trade-off in bioculture between concentrating on high-yield varieties and maintaining sufficient diversity to lower the risks of catastrophic infection. The paper uses a simple ecology-based model of endogenous disease to indicate how a local decision to plant more of a widely grown crop creates negative externalities by increasing the probability that new pathogens will evolve to attack the crop globally. Society's basic issue concerns where to locate on an efficiency frontier between economic profitability and a standard formula for ecological entropyâ€”proved here to be a rigorous measure of â€œgeneralized resistanceâ€ to crop-ecosystem failure.
|Date of creation:||2000|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics -Cambridge Massachusetts-|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138|
Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/
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