Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 281–297

Satisficing Versus Optimality: Criteria for Sustainability

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11538-014-9944-8

Cite this article as:
De Lara, M., Martinet, V. & Doyen, L. Bull Math Biol (2015) 77: 281. doi:10.1007/s11538-014-9944-8


Economic analysis addresses risk and long-term issues with discounted expected utility, focusing on optimality. Viability theory is rooted on satisfying sustainability constraints over time, focusing on feasibility. We build a bridge between these two approaches by establishing that viability is equivalent to an array of degenerate intertemporal optimization problems. First, we focus our attention on the deterministic case. We highlight the connections between the viability kernel and the minimum time of crisis. Carrying on, we lay out stochastic viability, turning the spotlight onto the notions of viable scenario and maximal viability probability. Our conceptual results bring the viability approach closer to the economic approach, especially in the stochastic case and regarding efficiency. We discuss the possible use of viability as a theoretical framework for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management and climate change issues.



Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERMICS (ENPC)Université Paris-EstMarne-la-ValléeFrance
  2. 2.INRAUMR210 Economie PubliqueThiverval-GrignonFrance
  3. 3.CNRS, GREThAUniversity of Bordeaux 4Pessac CedexFrance