A Dynamic Economic-Ecological Model FOR Regional Sustainable Development

Jeroen C. J. M. Van Den Bergh
Peter Nijkamp



This article focuses attention on sustainable development of a region by analyzing with a dynamic model the long term behavior of an open economic-ecological system for various relevant scenarios. We mention reasons for studying the concept of regional sustainable development, discuss its meaning and implications, and characterize models based on this concept. The model used here includes descriptions of: 1) economic activities, 2) economic dynamics, 3) economic balances, 4) ecological functions, processes and dynamics, 5) material balances, 6) feedback mechanisms from the ecological to the economic system, and 7) inequality constraints. The description of the ecological dynamics is based on general ecological functions and characteristics. The ecology-economic feedback mechanisms provide for the possibility of studying various degrees of concern for future generations. Simulation is used to obtain insight in the behavior of the system under different policies and strategies. To gain insight into regional sustainable development various scenarios are analyzed. They include the use of environmental policies of waste treatment, recycling, research and development, and environmental cleaning. Others are strategies for the use of regenerative resources, allocation rules for extraction of renewable and non-renewable resources, and strategies for satisfying dynamic waste emission standards. The model allows also for analysis of impacts of high and low investment, and variations in the domestic relative to the foreign price level. A few scenarios are discussed in more detail. Finally, a table is shown in which some of the scenarios are evaluated with respect to performance in terms of proposed criteria for regional sustainable development.

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