Beijer Fellows

Therese Lindahl | PhD (Economist) , Researcher

The aim of my research is to generate a better understanding of human behavior (drivers, responses and outcomes) in social-ecological systems. My focus is broadly on environmental and resource economics, but more specifically on social dynamics in natural resource dilemmas. I am particularly interested in improving the understanding of the interplay of knowledge, learning and norms. I am employing experimental (lab and field), empirical and theoretical (mainly game theory) methods.

Therese Lindahl


Address: The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics The Royal Swedish Academy of Science Box 50005 SE-104 05 Stockholm Sweden


Governing complex systems - the role of interdependent resources

Ecosystem complexity can entail a number of factors (e.g. spatial dynamics, potential abrupt changes and uncertainties). The main focus of this research project is the aspect of resource interdependencies. Imagine for example a group of fishermen with common access to a fishing ground close to the shore and another smaller group with larger fishing vessels that can also access offshore fishing grounds. The two fish populations are of course interdependent. Within this (or similar) settings, this research project aims to answer questions regarding how resource interdependencies and user asymmetry affect the behaviour of resource users and the implications for management.

The project is being carried out in partnership by Therese Lindahl and researchers at Stockholm Resilience Centre. 

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Managing resources with potential regimshifts: using experiments to explore social-ecological linkages in common resource systems

Many natural resources are managed as common pool resources, which often results in over-exploitation. Moreover, changes in these resources are not necessarily smooth.

 If some thresholds are passed, large, dramatic transformations can interrupt smooth changes in the system, creating so called regime shifts. During such shifts, far-reaching, abrupt, persistent changes occur in ecosystem services that the system produces, that potentially can have a significant impact on human well-being.

These features complicate management of common pool resources further. Theoretical studies show that traditional policy instruments like taxes may not necessarily work and that the outcome will depend on the underlying behavioral assumptions of the model. In order to develop the optimal set of policies and management of these common pool resources it is crucial to explore the linkages between ecological characteristics and human behavior.

This project do this by relying on experimental (laboratory and field) methods. We are testing how various forms of uncertainty related to regime shifts influence behavior and overall outcomes. Moreover, we address and compare how quantitative instruments, price instruments and administrative instruments perform in the presence of regime shifts. The aim is to provide essential information to better understand social mechanisms underlying regime shifts and how we can overcome them.

The project is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the EU project ACCESS

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Sharing natural resources with complex dynamics - strategic interaction across temporal and spatial scales with policy implications

More specifically our aim is to answer the following questions:

  •  How can institutions respond to the presence of a complex environment, involving discontinuities, thresholds and uncertainty?
  • Within such institutions, how do people interact strategically in the presence of complex dynamics and uncertainty?
  •  How can we improve management of complex ecosystems and to what extent is there a need to revise current economic approaches to economic policy?

The project is funded by The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning, Formas

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Strategic interaction, asymmetric information and coordination – theoretical predictions and experimental evidence

 The aim of this project is to analyze the interaction of asymmetric information and learning in coordination problems. More specifically; How does access to asymmetric information and learning affect the strategic interaction between the agents? What are the welfare consequences for individual actors? What overall welfare consequences can be expected? How do we design policy instruments with the purpose of overcoming the inefficiencies associated with coordination problems? To answer the questions we will use both theoretical predictions and experimental evidence.

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