The Beekeeper Dilemma
Beekeepers transport their hives from field to field and make money helping farmers, orchardists and others pollinate their crops. (See the wonderful old paper by Steven N.S. Cheung, “The Fable of the Bees: An Economic Investigation,” Journal of Law and Economics, 1973.)
There are now indications that colony collapse, the current plague of the industry, may result from too-frequent moves of hives and the resulting greater exposure to more varieties of pathogens. The beekeeper thus faces a trade-off: increase revenue by moving hives around, but incur a potential cost of collapse; or move hives less and make less revenue, but reduce the potential risk. From what I’ve been told, different beekeepers make different choices, depending in part on their assessments of the risk of colony collapse and their degree of risk aversion.