Table of Contents
Journal of Complex Systems
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 875265, 9 pages
Research Article

Studying the Relationship between System-Level and Component-Level Resilience

Sandia National Laboratories, P.O. Box 5800 MS 1138, Albuquerque, NM 87185-1138, USA

Received 30 June 2014; Revised 23 October 2014; Accepted 11 December 2014

Academic Editor: Albert Jones

Copyright © 2015 Michael D. Mitchell and Walter E. Beyeler. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The capacity to maintain stability in a system relies on the components which make up the system. This study explores the relationship between component-level resilience and system-level resilience with the aim of identifying policies which foster system-level resilience in situations where existing incentives might undermine it. We use an abstract model of interacting specialized resource users and producers which can be parameterized to represent specific real systems. We want to understand how features, such as stockpiles, influence system versus component resilience. Systems are subject to perturbations of varying intensity and frequency. For our study, we create a simplified economy in which an inventory carrying cost is imposed to incentivize smaller inventories and examine how components with varying inventory levels compete in environments subject to periods of resource scarcity. The results show that policies requiring larger inventories foster higher component-level resilience but do not foster higher system-level resilience. Inventory carrying costs reduce production efficiency as inventory sizes increase. JIT inventory strategies improve production efficiency but do not afford any buffer against future uncertainty of resource availability.