AIC Research Group, University of Southampton

AIC Research Group

Socio-ecological systems

An ever-increasing part of the economic activity of society is based on the exploitation of renewable or finite natural resources. Hence models of the evolution of ecological resources increasingly need to account for economic factors and human influences to allow for realistic projections. Broadly, the AIC group has some interest in understanding the coevolution of the economic dynamics and incentives for exploitation and natural resources.
An important aspect of this problem is that some resources are privately owned, but ownerships of others is shared by many, such that the benefits of use accrue to individuals but costs are shared by the group. Examples of the latter kind are the high seas fisheries (which are exploited by many fishing fleets, such that depletion is not attributable to the actions of one individual) or indeed the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (where individual actors enjoy the benefits of emissions through the use of “cheap” fossil fuels, but the costs of pollution in the form of climate change and resulting damages are shared by the collective). In Game Theory such resource sharing problems are modeled as public goods games. We employ techniques from evolutionary game theory to understand the influence of regulation on resource sharing in fisheries models and use approaches from computational economics to understand the dynamics of low- dimensional multi-actor models that couple the dynamics of economic activity and the natural environment in the context of climate change.