Low Discounting Behavior among Small-Scale Fishers in Fiji and Sabah, Malaysia
Understanding the socio-economic factors that are associated with fishers’ willingness to delay gratification may be useful for designing appropriate fisheries management and conservation policies. We aim to identify the predictors of low discounting behaviour among fishers, which is analogous to having a longer-term outlook. We base our empirical study on two small-scale tropical reef fisheries in Sabah, Malaysia, and Fiji. We use an experimental approach to identify fishers with low discount rates, and then use a logistic regression model to identify predictors of low discount rates. We find that 42% of the respondents have low discount rates, and that site and village level variables are significant predictors of low discount rates. Within Sabah and Fiji, boat ownership and relative catch differentiate low discounting from non-low discounting fishers, but these variables have contradictory effects in Sabah and Fiji. Overall, our results imply that a substantial proportion of reef fishers may be willing to engage in conservation initiatives; however, local socio-cultural, economic, and ecological conditions have to be considered first during the process of designing management interventions.
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