Coevolution of economic and ecological systems an application to agricultural pesticide resistance

Joëlle Noailly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper analyzes a model of economy-environment coevolution in which economic activities induce the genetic evolution of a biological species. This model is applied to the problem of pesticide resistance management. Just as in Munro (Environ Resour Econ, 9:429-449, 1997), we consider three main types of interactions: (1) a large pest population reduces economic revenues, (2) economic activities select for resistant genes and (3) the spread of resistant genes affects the size of the pest population. The model differs from Munro in that it includes evolutionary modeling of economic strategies. Economic agents are assumed to be boundedly rational, i.e they cannot compute the optimal level of pesticide use that minimizes resistance among pests. Economic evolution represents the change in the distribution of pesticide strategies in the population of economic agents and is modeled by a replicator dynamics equation. The interactions between economic evolution of pesticide strategies, pest population dynamics and genetic evolution of resistance of pests are studied in a system of three differential equations. We explore the dynamics and stability properties of the system using numerical simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Economics
  • Evolution
  • Evolutionary modeling
  • Pesticide resistance


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