The Dynamics of Pollination Markets

The economic problem of a commercial beekeeper is akin to that of a traveling salesman with the important difference that bees simultaneously pollinate crops and feed on them. In other words, bees not only provide pollination services but also feed on the crops they visit. As a result, the number and price of bees available for pollination at any time for any crop is determined by the demand for pollination services and the supply of bee food from other crops in the market. I develop a dynamic model of yearly fluctuations in the stock of honey bees and combine it with an economic model of beekeeper's behavior. This dynamic model of bee population highlights the fact that they are a renewable resource whose economic value is derived from both extraction and the provision of pollination services. Losses of hives to parasitic mites and other pests have a greater impact on the pollination cost of crops that blossom early. The effect of honey subsidies on pollination fees is ambiguous theoretically, which challenges previous results from the economics literature on pollination markets.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-26

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