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Sustainable Development and Complex Ecosystems. An Economist's View


  • Rauscher, Michael


The paper surveys economic aspects of sustainability and the use of complex ecological systems. In a first step, an economist's view of the concept of sustainability is presented. Then, a simple model of the economic use of a dynamic ecological system is discussed. It is shown how economically optimal trajectories look like, in which circumstances it may be optimal to destroy the ecosystem, and which problems arise if this ecosystem is a common-property resource. Extensions of the model that add complexity and uncertainty are referred to briefly. Finally, some economic concepts to determine the value of ecosystems are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Rauscher, Michael, 1996. "Sustainable Development and Complex Ecosystems. An Economist's View," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 02, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:roswps:02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dockner, Engelbert & Feichtinger, Gustav & Mehlmann, Alexander, 1989. "Noncooperative solutions for a differential game model of fishery," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-20, January.
    2. Wolfgang Ströbele & Holger Wacker, 1995. "The economics of harvesting predator-prey systems," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 65-81, February.
    3. Johansson,Per-Olov, 1987. "The Economic Theory and Measurement of Environmental Benefits," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521348102, March.
    4. Pezzey, J., 1992. "Sustainable Development Concepts; An Economic Analysis," Papers 2, World Bank - The World Bank Environment Paper.
    5. Bismut, Jean-Michel, 1975. "Growth and optimal intertemporal allocation of risks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 239-257, April.
    6. David Levhari & Leonard J. Mirman, 1980. "The Great Fish War: An Example Using a Dynamic Cournot-Nash Solution," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 322-334, Spring.
    7. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124-124.
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    Cited by:

    1. Köhn, Jörg, 1996. "Thinking in Terms of System Hierarchies and Velocites. What makes Development Sustainable?," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 04, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.

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