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Regime shifts and management

Crépin, A.-S., R. Biggs, S. Polasky, M. Troell, and A. de Zeeuw (2013). In: Shogren, J.F. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource, and Environmental Economics, Vol. 2., Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Pp. 339–348.


Regime shifts are large, long-lasting changes in the structure and functioning of a system. Empirical and theoretical evidence suggest that the impacts of regime shifts on human well-being can be substantial. This motivates developing a battery of policy and management tools for dealing with regime shifts. A whole range of factors impact what strategy to choose and depending on which of them that dominates, it may be best to either prevent a regime shift or actively transform into a new regime. Relevant factors to consider in the strategy choice would be, for example, the social costs and benefits of different strategies and of transitions between regimes, the risk of a regime shift, and people's preferences with regard to how they value future options. Each strategy can be implemented in different ways, which are also discussed here.

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Keywords: Hysteresis; Management; Regime shift; Skiba indifference thresholds; Social–ecological system; Threshold

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