The new Fable of the Bees literature

by on October 4, 2012 at 5:32 am in Economics, Food and Drink | Permalink

From the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, there is a new paper by Randal R. Rucker, Walter N. Thurman, and Michael Burgett (Dept. of Entomology), here is the abstract:

The world’s most extensive markets for pollination services are those for honey bee pollination in the United States. These markets play important roles in coordinating the behavior of migratory beekeepers, who both produce honey and provide substitutes for ecosystem pollination services. We analyze the economic forces that drive migratory beekeeping and theoretically and empirically analyze the determinants of pollination fees in a larger and richer data set than has been studied before. Our empirical results expand our understanding of pollination markets and market-supporting institutions that internalize external effects.

This is a deep and thoughtful analysis which extends the tradition of Steven Cheung.  There is an earlier ungated version here.  Here is a related paper from UC Davis, and here is a related paper on the economics of honeybee pollination in Georgia.  Here is a very good summary of the main piece.

For the pointer I thank Michelle Dawson.

1 mpkomara October 4, 2012 at 5:55 am

and here is a place where you can buy honey with bitcoins: http://www.beesbros.com/

2 Ray Lopez October 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I hope Elinor Ostrom’s “Governing the Commons” book is cited by these lighthouse and bee keeper Tragedy of the Commons contra-indicator authors. You see, these free marketeers (of which I am one) often miss the biggest paradox of capitalism: innovation, which Solow’s model says is exogeneous (“inventions randomly fall from the sky”), overlooks that fundamental scientific discoveries cannot be patented, ergo, all famous scientists are essentially donating their intellectual property to the commons, for little compensation save fame. Please explain that paradox and why people go to the polls to vote when at the margin their vote is of zero value.

3 Jean Parmesan October 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Don’t forget David Friedman’s classic article on Coase and Bees:

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Libertarian/The_Swedes.html

4 J October 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

It’s nice to see Randy’s new publication get some press. IIRC, he was one of Cheung’s students at UW.

He has also been a wonderful teacher and mentor to a number of young economists at MSU.

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