Disastrous outcomes, such as the population collapse of an endangered species, are non-marginal events that are particularly hard to value with existing methods. Because of this, the standard net benefit maximization is not a reliable policy generator. Viable control provides an alternative mindset: seek an acceptably small likelihood of a bad outcome, ideally at the smallest possible management cost.
In the paper Safety in Numbers, Pierce, Mike and coauthors apply cost-effective viable control to the conservation of the Humpback Chub in the Grand Canyon, a fish under threat due to predation and competition from non-native species. Here, they focus their efforts on two questions: (1) “what population abundance should we aim for in order to avoid a minimum viable threshold?” and (2) “what is the shadow value of non-attainment?” These questions are addressed using a new viable control dynamic programming algorithm.
Click here for an outreach publication in ARE Update with the paper.
News for the paper in Land Economics from UC Davis ARE.