Theoretical Regime Shifts

DSTicon Theoretical Regime Shifts

We seek to develop knowledge of social-ecological dynamics that is both general and context-sensitive. As well as building on specific cases, we also approach this objective from more abstract, theory-driven modelling. In one theoretical model, a group of actors harvest a renewable, common-pool resource and ostracise (that is, socially disapprove of and sanction) those harvesters who do not harvest at a socially optimal level. This model can display sudden transitions (regime shifts) between high resource levels, high payoffs and partial or full co-operation, and degraded resources, low payoffs and the absence of co-operation. Using a range of approaches including generalized modelling and agent-based modelling (CP-norm model), we investigate the conditions under which these regime shifts appear and how they are influenced by variations (both fast noisy fluctuations and slow trends) in system inputs such as resource inflow or production costs. Theoretical models such as this provide a convenient space for exploring and developing insights about the role of different interactions and feedbacks in social-ecological systems. Theoretical models can also aid in method development, for example the methods used to analyse the theoretical model just described are being transferred to the Baltic Sea case study.

People: Steven Lade (generalized modelling, bifurcation analysis); Maja Schlüter (agent-based modelling); in collaboration with Alessandro Tavoni, London School of Economics and Simon Levin, Princeton University

Methods: Dynamical systems theory; Agent based modelling, Evolutionary game theory

Publications: Tavoni at al. (2012), Lade et al (2013)., Schlüter et al (in review)