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Dissecting the tragedy: A spatial model of behavior in the commons

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  • Abbott, Joshua K.
  • Wilen, James E.

Abstract

Much of the discussion of the tragedy of the commons focuses on aggregate impacts, often in data-poor developing country settings. Few non-experimental empirical studies shed light on contextual circumstances driving the extent of rent dissipation and overexploitation. We utilize a high-resolution data set to estimate a behavioral model of fishermen's spatial choices. A unique policy setting allows us to measure the degree to which individual fishermen's choices appear aimed at mitigating the tragedy of the commons in a small numbers setting. We find evidence of partial mitigation in excess of what we would expect under pure self-interest but short of what would occur under group-maximizing behavior. We also examine how contextual factors in the fishery shape the degree of cooperation within the fishing season and find evidence that competition for the common pool resource distorts fishermen's implicit cost of distance—creating a form of “common property inertia”.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 62 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 386-401

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:62:y:2011:i:3:p:386-401

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

Related research

Keywords: Common property; Cooperation; Spatial modeling; Bycatch; Random utility model;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jonathan E. Hughes & Daniel Kaffine, 2013. "When is Encouraging Consumption of Common Property Second Best? Sorting, Congestion and Entry in the Commons," Working Papers, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business 2013-05, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
  2. Robert H. Hicks & Alan C. Haynie & Kurt E. Schnier, 2008. "Common Property, Information, and Cooperation: Commercial Fishing in the Bering Sea," Working Papers, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary 80, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  3. Veyssiere, Luc Pierre & Weninger, Quinn, 2009. "Fishing Behavior Across Space and Time," Staff General Research Papers, Iowa State University, Department of Economics 31848, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Cavalcanti, Carina & Engel, Stefanie & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2013. "Social integration, participation, and community resource management," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 262-276.

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