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Economic point of view

In this text we discuss the economic point of views in policies.
Dollar sign in someone’s hands

Much policy on protecting fish stocks is being developed from an economical point of view, implicitly assuming that fishers are economic maximisers. Moreover, policymakers sometimes do not have a clear understanding of the complexity of a socio-ecological system such as the sea.

Because formalising individual financial optimisers is relatively easy in (economic) models, this has become an important perspective in policy making. However, increasingly richer models of human behaviour have become computational, which we will discuss in detail in our related course Decision Making in a Complex World (starting Spring 2022). This is important, because having more realistic models of human behaviour in socio-ecological models may reveal alternative and effective approaches for policy.

As an example of a richer perspective, Dirk tells us about his perspective on the fishing grounds:

When you go to The Hague to talk to Members of Parliament, there is only concrete. Those people make decisions over there. But, when you are here in the north of the Netherlands close to the sea, there is so much more freedom, space, nature … There is a history here and everything has a story in it. That is neglected in these policies.

In the following exercises, we will repeat the experiments with restricting the number of sea days and closing certain areas, but this time not with economically maximizing fishers, but with satisfying fishers. Whereas our behaviour model is still very simple, you will note the difference of implementing more satisficing fishers.

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Understanding Human Behaviour: Introduction to Game Theory and Shared Resources

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