Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 3 > Issue 3-4

Governance Issues in Complex Ecologic-Economic Systems

J. Barkley Rosser Jr., James Madison University, USA,
Suggested Citation
J. Barkley Rosser Jr. (2016), "Governance Issues in Complex Ecologic-Economic Systems", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 3: No. 3-4, pp 335-357.

Published: 23 Dec 2016
© 2016 J. B. Rosser Jr.

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In this article:
1. Introduction: Ostrom and Complexity
2. The Intertemporally Optimal Fishery
3. Complexity Problems of Optimal Rotation in Forests
4. Stability and Resilience of Ecosystems Revisited
5. Conclusions


This paper studies complex dynamics that can arise in fisheries, forests, and broader ecological-economic systems as a result of human-natural interactions. Such dynamics make it impossible for agents to fully optimize, meaning that they must use bounded rationality to achieve mutually acceptable behavioral solutions within social groups. Implications for managing such systems, particularly when they are commons, re considered, with recommendations regarding the Scale-Matching and Precautionary Principles. These arguments are linked to ideas of Elinor Ostrom regarding how to manage commons, with her having emphasized the problems of complexity late in her career and the implications of this for social groups to establish and follow norms for sustainable behavior in managing such systems.