Don’t feed the bears! Environmental defensive expenditure in an optimal growth model

Antoci, Angelo, Simone Borghesi, and Paolo Russu. “Don’t feed the bears! Environmental defensive expenditure in an optimal growth model.” Macroeconomic Dynamics (2019): 1-20.

Many studies have stressed that human activities may cause the extinction of single species. Anthropogenic activities, however, may affect not only the number of individuals of single species, but also their behavior. To investigate this issue, we propose a growth model in which agents may care not only for the species’ survival but also for the typicality of their behavior. We assume that the environmental defensive expenditures can protect the species avoiding their extinction, but can induce the species to modify their behavior. Results emerging from the model suggest that if the social planner cares for typicality of species behavior, then an infinite growth process may no longer be optimal. Numerical simulations, moreover, show the possible existence of a trade-off between number and behavior of the species, leading the system to a high number of species’ members that behave in an atypical way or to few members behaving very typically.

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