Research and Selected Publications
Research has centered on a variety of microeconomic topics including earthquake risks, solar energy adoption, international terrorist behavior, telecommunications, consumer attitudes toward nutrition and professional sports. (See my CV for details.)
However, most of my research has centered on two fields: 1) regulation of public utilities and 2) natural resource and environmental economics. Regarding the former I have watched it move from a relative backwater of industrial organization, to a leading source of academic innovation in economics, to a setting in which nobody can predict what public utilities or their analysts will be doing tomorrow. Regarding the latter, I have watched it start strong in the 1970s, weaken considerably in the 1980s, and resurge in the 1990s, the latter is a trend that will inevitably continue as a growing number of economists realize many of the world’s problems in the 21st century will revolve around natural resource scarcity problems.
Currently I am working with economists and biologists to integrate economic and ecosystem models. The purpose is to improve economic policies so that they may better account for the interactions between the human and natural worlds. I am also involved with economic aspects of endangered species preservation, the thrust of which is contained in the paper: "Why Economics Matters for Endangered Species Protection and the Endangered Species Act," published in Conservation Biology. Recently I received a grant from the U.S. EPA to continue work on merging an economic general equilibrium model of Alaska with an ecological a general equilibrium model of a marine ecosystem off Alaska. The model will predict the usual economic prices, quantities and incomes, as well as populations of species that are impacted by the economic activity.
The papers below are representative of the work on integrating ecology and economics:
1. "General equilibrium of an ecosytem" This paper lays out the groundwork for a general equilibrium model of an ecological community (J. of Theoretical Biology, March 2000):http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/econfinance/Tschirhart/jthbppr.pdf
2. Uses the general equilibrium approach for plant communities (Ecological Modelling, 2002): http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/econfinance/Tschirhart/cmmntypprrev.pdf
3. "Protecting an Endangered Species while Harvesting Its Prey in a General Equilibrium Ecosystem Model" (Land Economics, May 2003, with D. Finnoff) http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/econfinance/Tschirhart/land.pdf
4. Investigates regulated commercial harvesting of pollock off Alaska, where the pollock are part of an eight species ecological community. With David Finnoff. (Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/econfinance/Tschirhart/hvstall.pdf
5. The appendix to the above paper. http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/econfinance/Tschirhart/Appendix%20A11_21.doc
6. "Microfoundations of population dynamics" Ruediger Pethig and I investigate a species biological growth curve based on individual maximizing behavior. (Journal of Bioeconomics, 2002): http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/econfinance/Tschirhart/MicrGrwRevFin.pdf
7. "Ecological transfers in non-human communities parallel economic markets in a general equilibrium ecosystem model." Shows that demand and supply in economic markets does not apply directly to ecological biomass transfers between predator and prey, but a psuedo market concept applies with downward sloping supply curves. (J of Bioeconomics, 2003, 193-214) http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/econfinance/Tschirhart/MrkvsTrns.pdf
8. “A New Adaptive System Approach to Predator-prey Modeling,” Ecological Modelling, 2004, 176 (3-4), 255-276.
9. “Identifying, Preventing and Controlling Successful Invasive Plant Species Using Their Physiological Traits,” (with David Finnoff) Ecological Economics, February 2005, 52(3), 397-416.
10. “Using Oligopoly Theory to Examine Individual Plant versus Community Optimization and Evolutionary Stable Objectives,” (with David Finnoff) Natural Resource Modeling, 2007, 20(1): 61-86.
11. “Efficient Ecosystem Services and Naturalness in an Ecological/Economic Model,” (with Thomas Eichner). Environmental and Resource Economics, 2007, 37(4): 733-755.
12. “Reconstructing Past Ecosystem Processes with General Equilibrium Models: House Mice in Kern County, California, 1926-27.” (with Seong-Hee Kim and Steven Buskirk). Ecological Modelling. 2007, 209:235-248.
13.“Linking Dynamic Ecological and Economic General Equilibrium Models,” (with David Finnoff). Resource and Energy Economics, 2008, 30: 91-114.
14. “A Bioeconomic Model of Cattle Stocking on Rangeland Threatened by Invasive Plants and Nitrogen Deposition,” (with David Finnoff and Aaron Strong). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2008, 90(4): 1074-1090.
15. “Models Integrating Ecology and Economics,” Annual Review of Resource Economics, October 2009, vol. 1: 381-409.
16. “Plant Competition and Exclusion with Optimizing Individuals,” (with David Finnoff). Journal of Theoretical Biology, November 2009, 261(2): 227-237.
17. “Optimal Harvest Licensing when Harvest Success is Uncertain,” (with Abul Maala Tanvir Hussain), American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2010, 92(1): 125-140.
18. “Inserting Ecological Detail into Economic Analysis: Agricultural Nutrient Loading of an Estuary,” (with David Finnoff), Sustainability, 2011. 3(10), 1688-1722. Open access journal.
19. “Biology as a Source of Non-convexities in Ecological Production Functions," Environmental and Resource Economics. 2012. 51(2): 189-213.
20. “Perspectives on ecosystem based management for delivering ecosystem services with an example from an eighteen-species marine model.” (with David Finnoff and Min Gong), International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics. 2012. 6: 79 - 118.