Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment / CBIE Working Papers / A Framework for Mapping and Comparing Behavioral Theories in Models of Social-Ecological Systems

A Framework for Mapping and Comparing Behavioral Theories in Models of Social-Ecological Systems

CBIE_WP-2015-010

Abstract

Formal models are commonly used in natural resource management (NRM) to study human-environment interactions and inform policy aking. In the majority of applications, human behavior is represented by the rational actor model despite growing empirical evidence of its shortcomings in NRM contexts. While the importance of taking into account the complexity of human behavior is increasingly recognized it emains a major challenge to integrate it into formal models. The challenges are multiple: i) there exists many theories scattered across the social sciences, ii) most theories cover only a certain aspect of decision-making, iii) they vary in their degree of formalization, iv) causal mechanisms are often not specied. With this paper we provide a framework to facilitate a broader inclusion of theories on human decision making in formal NRM models. It serves as a tool and common language to describe, compare and communicate alternative theories. In doing so, we not only enhance understanding of commonalities and dierences between theories, but also support a first step in tackling the challenges mentioned above. This approach  may enable modelers to find and formalize relevant theories, and be more explicit and inclusive about theories of human decision making in the analysis of social-ecological systems.

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Published December 16, 2015

Maja Schluter, Stockholm Resilience Centre

Andres Baeza, SESYNC (National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center)

Gunnar Dressler, UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research e UFZ

Karin Frank, UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research e UFZ

Jurgen Groeneveld, UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research e UFZ

Wander Jager, University College Groningen

Marco A. Janssen, Arizona State University, School of Sustainability

Birgit Muller, UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research e UFZ

Kirill Orach, Stockholm Resilience Centre

Pages