Integrated ecological economic modeling: what is it good for?

Alexey Voinov, Pascal Perez, Juan Carlos Castilla-Rho, Daniel C. Kenny

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Ecological economics, as an inherently transdisciplinary area of scientific inquiry, requires various sources of data, information, and models from different fields to create knowledge that is accessible, transparent, and compelling for scientists and stakeholders who look at the world from multiple perspectives. By synergistically linking knowledge across disciplines, the art and practice of integrated modeling can shed light on problems that would be impossible to treat through a narrow disciplinary lens. There are essentially two ways of undertaking integrated modeling. One approach—integral modeling—is to build a model by conceptualizing a real-world system, its dynamics, and the information and data that describes its functioning using a single modeling paradigm (e.g. System Dynamics). The other approach—integrated modeling—involves assembling new models out of already built models, in a modular way. Output from one model serves as input to another, and information propagates through an integrated model chain, either sequentially or in parallel (or in a combination of both). Considering the nature of the questions asked in ecological economics, we also often need to integrate across conceptual, qualitative, and quantitative models. The participatory modeling approach offers practical ways to do this, by involving stakeholders in the modeling process. This chapter describes the various approaches and opportunities for integration and provides examples of existing models relevant to ecological economics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Wellbeing Futures
Subtitle of host publicationA Research and Action Agenda for Ecological Economics
EditorsRobert Costanza, Jon D. Erickson, Joshua Farley, Ida Kubiszewski
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781789900958
ISBN (Print)9781789900941
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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