Nonlinear behavior of the socio-economic dynamics for lake eutrophication control

Yoh Iwasa, Tomoe Uchida, Hiroyuki Yokomizo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


To succeed in combating lake eutrophication, cooperation of local inhabitants, small factories, and farmers in reducing phosphorus discharge is very important. But the willingness of each player to cooperate would depend on the cooperation of other players and on the level of environmental concern of the society in general. Here we study the integrated dynamics of people's choice of behavior and the magnitude of eutrophication. Assumptions are: there are a number of players who choose between alternative options: a cooperative and environment-oriented option is more costly than the other. The decision of each player is affected by "social pressure" as well as by economical cost of the options. The lake pollution increases with the total phosphorus released, and a high pollution level in the lake would enhance the social pressure. The model includes a positive and a negative feedback loops which create diverse dynamical behavior. The model often shows bistability - having an equilibrium with a high level of cooperation among people and clean water, and the other equilibrium with low cooperation and polluted water, which are simultaneously stable. The model also shows fluctuation between a high and a low levels of cooperation in alternating years, cycle with a longer periodicity, or chaotic fluctuation. Conservatism of people stabilizes the system and sometimes helps maintaining cooperation. The system may show unexpected parameter dependence - the improved phosphorus removing efficiency might make water more polluted if it causes the decline in the environmental concern and cooperation among people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-229
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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