Publication Date

September 2007

Publication Details

Levy, A and Caputo, MR, Optimal Control of Locusts in Subsistence Farming Areas, Working Paper 07-10, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2007.


Locust swarms hit subsistence-staple-crop-growing households at random and are not privately controllable. An aerial-spraying optimal control model that supports the said households’ liveli-hood at least expected cost is therefore developed. The qualitative properties of the model are analysed under economically plausible but mild assumptions. The steady state comparative stat-ics reveal that the locust swarm size and the probability of a household’s crop being destroyed by a swarm decrease with the number of households, yield per household, and the staple crop’s replacement price, and increase with the marginal cost of spraying and the planner’s discount rate. A local comparative dynamics analysis is also conducted, as it provides the necessary eco-nomic intuition behind other ostensibly anomalous steady state comparative statics results.