Overcoming the Common Pool Problem Through Voluntary Cooperation: The Rise and Fall of a Fishery Cooperative

46 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2010

See all articles by Robert Deacon

Robert Deacon

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics; Resources for the Future; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Dominic Parker

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

Christopher Costello

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Date Written: September 2010

Abstract

We analyze a seldom used, but highly promising form of rights-based management over common pool resources that involves the self-selection of heterogeneous fishermen into sectors. The fishery management regime assigns one portion of an overall catch quota to a voluntary cooperative, with the remainder exploited as a commons by those choosing to fish independently. Data from an Alaska commercial salmon fishery confirm our model's key predictions, that the co-op would facilitate the consolidation of fishing effort, coordination of harvest activities, sharing of information and provision of shared infrastructure. We estimate that the resulting rent gains were at least 25%. A lawsuit filed by two disgruntled independents led to the co-op's demise, an outcome also predicted by our model. Our analysis provides guidance for designing fishery reform that leads to Pareto improvements for fishermen of all skill levels, which suggests a structure that enables reform without losers.

Suggested Citation

Deacon, Robert T. and Parker, Dominic and Costello, Christopher, Overcoming the Common Pool Problem Through Voluntary Cooperation: The Rise and Fall of a Fishery Cooperative (September 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16339. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1672591

Robert T. Deacon (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
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Resources for the Future

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center ( email )

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Dominic Parker

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics ( email )

427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706-1503
United States

Christopher Costello

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management ( email )

4670 Physical Sciences North
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131
United States
(805) 893-5802 (Phone)
(805) 893-7612 (Fax)

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