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Evolution of Harvesting Strategies: Replicator and Resource Dynamics


  • Joelle Noailly, Jeroen van den Bergh, Cees Withagen


Economic theories of managing renewable resources, such as fisheries and forestry, traditionally assume that individual harvesters are perfectly rational and thus able to compute the optimal harvesting strategy that maximizes their profits. The current paper presents an alternative approach based on bounded rationality and evolutionary mechanisms. This is applied to the problem of interactions between harvesters of a renewable resource. The model assumes that individual harvesters face a choice between two harvesting strategies. The evolution of the distribution of strategies in the population is modeled through a replicator dynamics equation. The latter captures the idea that strategies yielding above average profits are more demanded than strategies yielding below average profits, so that the first type ends up accounting for a larger part in the population. Mathematically, the combination of resource and evolutionary processes leads to complex dynamics. The paper identifies the steady-states of the system and presents the existence and stability conditions for each equilibrium. In addition, effects of changes in prices are analyzed. A main result of the paper is that under certain conditions both strategies can survive in the long-run. Finally, policy implications for the management of renewable resources are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Joelle Noailly, Jeroen van den Bergh, Cees Withagen, 2001. "Evolution of Harvesting Strategies: Replicator and Resource Dynamics," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 263, Society for Computational Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf1:263

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Constadina Passa & Anastasios Xepapadeas, 2008. "Modelling of Agricultural Behavior under the CAP Regime: Policy Effectiveness and Design," Working Papers 0819, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
    2. Lozano, Javier & Blanco, Ester & Rey-Maquieira, Javier, 2010. "Can ecolabels survive in the long run?: The role of initial conditions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 2525-2534, October.
    3. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:2:p:236-253 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Petrohilos-Andrianos, Yannis & Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 2017. "Resource harvesting regulation and enforcement: An evolutionary approach," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 236-253.
    5. Jeroen Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary thinking in environmental economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 521-549, October.
    6. Constadina Passa & Anastasios Xepapadeas, 2008. "Modelling of Agricultural Behavior under the CAP Regime: Assessment of Environmental Impacts and Policy Effectiveness," Working Papers 0818, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
    7. Torben Klarl, 2008. "On the stability of equilibria in replicator dynamics modelling: an application in industrial dynamics considering resource constraints," Working Papers 046, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    8. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2004. "Evolutionary Analysis of the Relationship between Economic Growth, Environmental Quality and Resource Scarcity," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-048/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Torben Klarl, 2013. "Market dynamics, dynamic resource management and environmental policy in the context of (strong) sustainability," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 861-888, September.
    10. Richter, Andries & van Soest, Daan & Grasman, Johan, 2013. "Contagious cooperation, temptation, and ecosystem collapse," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 141-158.
    11. Angelo Antoci & Simone Borghesi & Gerardo Marletto, 2012. "To drive or not to drive? A simple evolutionary model," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2012(2), pages 31-47.
    12. Esther Blanco & Javier Lozano, 2012. "Evolutionary success and failure of wildlife conservancy programs," Working Papers 2012-18, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    13. Kallis, Giorgos & Norgaard, Richard B., 2010. "Coevolutionary ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 690-699, February.
    14. Nannen, Volker & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M. & Eiben, A. E., 2008. "Impact of Environmental Dynamics on Economic Evolution: Uncertainty, Risk Aversion, and Policy," MPRA Paper 13834, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Lamantia, F. & Radi, D., 2015. "Exploitation of renewable resources with differentiated technologies: An evolutionary analysis," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 155-174.
    16. Gelcich, Stefan & Edwards-Jones, Gareth & Kaiser, Michel J., 2007. "Heterogeneity in fishers' harvesting decisions under a marine territorial user rights policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 246-254, March.

    More about this item


    Renewable resources; Evolutionary economics; Replicator Dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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