Sustainable Open-Access: Fishing and Informal Insurance in Ha'apai, Tonga
University of Freiburg
B,S,S. Economic Consultants
University of St. Gallen - Institute of Economy and the Environment (IWOe-HSG)
Institute for Economy and the Environment, IWO-HSG Discussion Paper No. 71
The article analyses the indirect effects of informal insurance on open-access renewable resource use. It is based on a field study of two neighbouring island fisheries in the Ha'apai region in the Kingdom of Tonga. On one island, 'Uiha, the fishery is under greater stress and fishers have partially withdrawn from the traditional Tongan system of sharing catch with other community members, whereas on the other island, Lofanga, the resource base and the informal insurance system is still intact. We show that informal insurance can be a perfect substitute for rules or norms which regulate resource use directly. Informal insurance can thereby complement an open-access system to the effect of making use sustainable, even under observed technological change. However, a combination of technological progress and cultural westernization puts the open-access resource under stress. The system of resource governance observed in Ha'apai has some resemblance with the believed-in effects of ecological tax reforms advocated for some industrialized societies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
JEL Classification: N57, 056, Q22
Date posted: January 13, 1999
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