Reforming Fisheries: Lessons from a Self-Selected Cooperative

Posted: 29 Jul 2012

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 P. Parker

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

Christopher Costello

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

Date Written: July 27, 2012

Abstract

We analyze a policy experiment in an Alaskan commercial fishery that assigned a portion of an overall catch quota to a voluntary cooperative, with the remainder exploited competitively by those choosing to fish independently. Unlike the individual quota system advocated by many economists, the policy encouraged coordinated fishing and did not require a detailed assignment of rights. We model the decision to join and behavior under cooperative and independent fishing. The data confirm our key predictions: the coop attracted the least skilled fishermen, consolidated and coordinated effort among its most efficient members, and provided shared infrastructure. We estimate that the resulting rent gains were at least 33 percent. Some independents were disadvantaged by the coop’s formation, however, prompting them to oppose it in court. We study the source of their disadvantage, and our analysis provides guidance for designing fishery reform that leads to Pareto improvements, enabling reform without losers.

Keywords: Fishery management, property rights, cooperatives

JEL Classification: Q22, D23, L23

Suggested Citation

Deacon, Robert T. and Parker, Dominic P. and Costello, Christopher, Reforming Fisheries: Lessons from a Self-Selected Cooperative (July 27, 2012). Journal of Law and Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2118913

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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805-893-3569 (Phone)
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Resources for the Future

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center ( email )

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Dominic P. Parker

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

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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