Population, natural resources, and food security: Lessons from comparing full and reduced-form models

Lutz W, Scherbov S, Prskawetz A, Dworak M, & Feichtinger G (2002). Population, natural resources, and food security: Lessons from comparing full and reduced-form models. In: Population and Environment: Methods of Analysis. Eds. W.C., W. Lutz, A. Prskawetz, & Sanderson, , New York: Population Council.

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Any analysis of the complex interactions between human population dynamics and the natural environment requires some sort of model, either in one's mind or on paper or on the computer. If the objective is to come up with quantitative estimates of future trends and interactions, explicit mathematical (and mostly computer-based) models are the appropriate tool. Since there are myriads of possible models determined by the choice of variables and parameters, the level of aggregation, and the complexity of the model, the scientist entering this field will have to make a daunting number of choices for which he/she often has little scientific basis. While the choice of variables and the level of regional aggregation tend to be strongly influenced by the specific research question, the issue of model complexity is more ambiguous. Are complex models more or less appropriate than simple ones? This general question has been addressed in different contexts (see, e.g., in the field of population forecasting Rogers 1995b; Lee, Carter, and Tuljapurkar 1995; Sanderson 1999). Here we want to study the question in the context of dynamic population-environment modeling by comparing a recently developed large empirical model to its reduced-form derivative.

This chapter is built around an interactive simulation model, the PEDA (population, environment, development, agriculture) model, which focuses on the interactions between changes in population size and distribution, natural resource degradation, agricultural production, and food security (Lutz and Scherbov 2000). This recently developed model has been inspired by the "vicious circle" reasoning (Dasgupta 1993; Nerlove 1991), which assumes a dynamic relationship between resource degradation, poverty (food insecurity), and high fertility....

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Bibliographic Reference: In: W. Lutz, A. Prskawetz, W.C. and Sanderson (eds); Population and Environment: Methods of Analysis; Population Council, New York, NY, USA pp.199-224 (2002)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:14
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2016 11:22
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/6652

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