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Sustainable Open-Access: Fishing and Informal Insurance in Ha'apai, Tonga

Institute for Economy and the Environment, IWO-HSG Discussion Paper No. 71

20 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 1999  

Andrea Bender

University of Freiburg

Wolfram Kagi

B,S,S. Economic Consultants

Ernst Mohr

University of St. Gallen - Institute of Economy and the Environment (IWOe-HSG)

Date Written: September 1998

Abstract

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 On one island, 'Uiha, the fishery is under greater stress and fishers have partially withdrawn from the traditional Tongan system of sharing catch with other community members, whereas on the other island, Lofanga, the resource base and the informal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.

JEL Classification: N57, 056, Q22

Suggested Citation

Bender, Andrea and Kagi, Wolfram and Mohr, Ernst, Sustainable Open-Access: Fishing and Informal Insurance in Ha'apai, Tonga (September 1998). Institute for Economy and the Environment, IWO-HSG Discussion Paper No. 71. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=143128 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.143128

Andrea Bender

University of Freiburg

Albertstr. 26-28
Institute of Ethnology
D-79104 Freiburg
Germany

Wolfram Kagi (Contact Author)

B,S,S. Economic Consultants ( email )

Steinenberg 5
Basel, CH-4051
Switzerland

Ernst Mohr

University of St. Gallen - Institute of Economy and the Environment (IWOe-HSG) ( email )

Bahnhofstrasse 8
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland
+41 71 224 25 84 (Phone)
+41 71 224 27 22 (Fax)

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