IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Learning Parameters in Non Linear Ecological Models

Listed author(s):
  • W. Davis Dechert

    (University of Wisconsin)

  • Sharon I. O'Donnell

    (Baylor College of Medicine)

  • William A. Brock

    (University of Wisconsin)

This paper builds on our previous work that used a non linear stochastic dynamic programming problem to solve for the optimal level of phosphorus discharged into a watershed. Typically, there is a trade off between profits from agriculture and environmental damage due to excessive levels of phosphorus (from farm animal wastes) in the watershed of a freshwater lake. The optimal management of the level of phosphorus depends not only on the costs and benefits, but also on the physical properties of the lake and on random shocks. Some lakes are more susceptible to damage from excess levels of phosphorus than others. To determine the optimal level of phosphorus for a given lake, it is necessary to learn the physical nature of the lake and its watershed. We adapted the method of optimal control with Bayes' learning of Easley and Kiefer (Econometrica 1988) to this problem. We show that in the context of the dynamic model for the flow of phosphorus in a lake, there is complete learning, i.e., there is no bandit problem in this context. We numerically solve the model and use Monte Carlo methods to solve for the mean time to learn and to determine the sensitivity of the speed of learning with respect to changes in the variance of the shocks

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: main text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 with number 258.

in new window

Date of creation: 04 Jul 2006
Handle: RePEc:sce:scecfa:258
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

in new window

  1. Peterson,G.D. & Carpenter,S.R. & Brock,W.A., 2002. "Uncertainty and the management of multi-state ecosystems : an apparently rational route to collapse," Working papers 10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Karl-Göran Mäler & Anastasios Xepapadeas & Aart de Zeeuw, 2003. "The Economics of Shallow Lakes," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(4), pages 603-624, December.
  3. Skiba, A K, 1978. "Optimal Growth with a Convex-Concave Production Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(3), pages 527-539, May.
  4. Wagener, F. O. O., 2003. "Skiba points and heteroclinic bifurcations, with applications to the shallow lake system," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1533-1561, July.
  5. Dechert, W.D. & O'Donnell, S.I., 2006. "The stochastic lake game: A numerical solution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(9-10), pages 1569-1587.
  6. John Rust, 1997. "Using Randomization to Break the Curse of Dimensionality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 487-516, May.
  7. Ludwig,D. & Carpenter,S. & Brock,W., 2002. "Optimal phosphorus loading for a potentially eutrophic lake," Working papers 9, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sce:scecfa:258. 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: (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.