Becker Friedman Institute
for Research in Economics
The University of Chicago

Research. Insights. Impact. Advancing the Legacy of Chicago Economics.


Learning from Lucas

The chalkboards are empty. Bob Lucas starts at the upper left, writing out an economic model and explaining as he goes. Sometimes he boxes in a result. When all the boards are filled, he stands back. Points to each box. Shows where this is going. “Then, BOOM, BOOM. It’s like watching fireworks.

In Search of Elusive Warning Signals: Tipping Points in Ecology and Economics

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A recent wave of research has demonstrated the existence of generic Early Warning Signals (EWS’s) that help predict a large class of abrupt changes in the state of ecological systems -- e.g. “tipping points.” Examples range from experimental laboratory systems of living organisms at tiny scales such as microbes up to ecosystems at the scale of lakes, rangelands, marine systems, or coral reefs.