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A Post Keynesian Environmental Macroeconomic Model for Agricultural Water Sustainability under Climate Change in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

Authors: Ke Zhao, Ballarat Colin Richardson, Jerry Courvisanos, John Crawford


Climate change has profound consequences for the agriculture of south-eastern Australia and its climate-induced water shortage in the Murray-Darling Basin. Post Keynesian Economics (PKE) macro-dynamics, along with Kaleckian investment and growth theory, are used to develop an ecological-economic system dynamics model of this complex nonlinear river basin system. The Murray- Darling Basin Simulation Model (MDB-SM) uses the principles of PKE to incorporate the fundamental uncertainty of economic behaviors of farmers regarding the investments they make and the climate change they face, particularly as regards water ecosystem services. MDB-SM provides a framework for macroeconomic policies, especially for long-term fiscal policy and for policy directed at the sustainability of agricultural water, as measured by socio-economic well-being considerations, which include sustainable consumption and investment in the river basin. The model can also reproduce other ecological and economic aspects and, for certain parameters and initial values, exhibit endogenous business cycles and ecological sustainability with realistic characteristics. Most importantly, MDBSM provides a platform for the analysis of alternative economic policy scenarios. These results reveal the importance of understanding water ecosystem adaptation under climate change by integrating a PKE macroeconomic analytical framework with the system dynamics modelling approach. Once parameterised and supplied with historical initial values, MDB-SM should prove to be a practical tool to provide alternative long-term policy simulations of agricultural water and socio-economic well-being.

Keywords: Economics, Modeling, Sustainability, Unemployment, Macroeconomic Dynamics, Agricultural water, Investment dynamics, Keynesian, Kaleckian

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