Wayne Wakeland

Date of Award

Summer 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science: Economics


Systems Science

Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 160 p.) : col. ill.


Environmental economics, Sustainable development, Ecology -- Economic aspects




My dissertation develops and analyzes ecological economic models to study the complex dynamics of an ecological economic system (EES) and investigate various conditions and measures which can sustain a developing economy over the long term in view of resilience and sustainability. Because of the intrinsic complexity of the system, I take a systems approach, using economics as the foundation for the basic structure of an ecological economic model, and system dynamics as the method to build and analyze such a complex ecological economic model. Throughout my dissertation, the model developed by Brander and Taylor (1998) is adopted as a baseline model (henceforth the BT model). The BT model explains population-resource dynamics and is characterized as a general equilibrium version of the Gordon-Schaefer Model, using a variation of the Lotka-Volterra predator-prey model. The findings are presented as three articles. The first article provides a comprehensive analysis of the BT model and its descendants, to elicit directions for further research, including population growth logic, substitutability, innovation, capital accumulation, property rights and institutional designs, and modeling approach. The second article extends the BT model to study the resilience of an EES reflecting three key issues in modeling such systems: 1) appropriate system boundary, 2) non-convexity of ecosystems, and 3) adaptation. The article discusses two types of thresholds: the ecological threshold, a threshold for an ecological system independent of economic systems, and the ecological economic threshold, a threshold for an EES. The latter is often different from the former and is highly dynamic and context dependent. The third article is another extension of the BT model to study the sustainability of an EES by implementing the suggestions made by the first article except for property rights and institutional designs. The main focus is on the impact of endogenous innovation regarding input substitutability on the system sustainability. The main finding is that improvement in the input substitutability, ceteris paribus, may not contribute to sustainable development despite its contribution to expanding the economy. However, it could be possible for susbstitutability improvements to contribute to sustainable development when combined with other specific types of technological progress.

Persistent Identifier