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Voluntary Cooperation in the Commons? Evaluating the Sea State Program with Reduced Form and Structural Models


  • Joshua K. Abbott
  • James E. Wilen


We utilize a variety of approaches to examine the success of a voluntary conservation program for a common property resource. The availability of panel data and a nonparticipatory group lets us use quasi-experimental methods to investigate the distribution of outcome treatment effects. We supplement these methods by incorporating a difference-in-differences structure into a behavioral model of fishing location choice to disentangle the program’s incentive effects from potentially misleading temporal variations in behavioral constraints. Our findings yield insight into the factors that support cooperation and illustrate the power of the complementary use of structural and reduced form models in program evaluation.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua K. Abbott & James E. Wilen, 2010. "Voluntary Cooperation in the Commons? Evaluating the Sea State Program with Reduced Form and Structural Models," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(1), pages 131-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:86:y:2010:i:1:p:131-154

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mason, Charles F. & Phillips, Owen R., 1997. "Mitigating the Tragedy of the Commons through Cooperation: An Experimental Evaluation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 148-172, October.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:02:p:404-417_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kenneth E. Train & Daniel L. McFadden & Moshe Ben-Akiva, 1987. "The Demand for Local Telephone Service: A Fully Discrete Model of Residential Calling Patterns and Service Choices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(1), pages 109-123, Spring.
    4. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    5. Stephen Polasky & Nori Tarui & Gregory Ellis & Charles Mason, 2006. "Cooperation in the commons," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 29(1), pages 71-88, September.
    6. Hicks, Robert L. & Schnier, Kurt E., 2008. "Eco-labeling and dolphin avoidance: A dynamic model of tuna fishing in the Eastern Tropical Pacific," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 103-116, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kailin Kroetz & James N. Sanchirico & Daniel K. Lew, 2015. "Efficiency Costs of Social Objectives in Tradable Permit Programs," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 339-366.
    2. repec:uwp:landec:v:93:y:2017:i:3:p:527-548 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Wiktor L. Adamowicz & Klaus Glenk & Jürgen Meyerhoff, 2014. "Choice modelling research in environmental and resource economics," Chapters,in: Handbook of Choice Modelling, chapter 27, pages 661-674 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Eliasen, Søren Qvist & Bichel, Nikolaj, 2016. "Fishers sharing real-time information about “bad” fishing locations. A tool for quota optimisation under a regime of landing obligations," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 16-23.
    5. Keith Evans & Quinn Weninger, 2014. "Information Sharing and Cooperative Search in Fisheries," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(3), pages 353-372, July.
    6. Abbott, Joshua K. & Wilen, James E., 2011. "Dissecting the tragedy: A spatial model of behavior in the commons," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 386-401.
    7. John Lynham, 2017. "Identifying Peer Effects Using Gold Rushers," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 93(3), pages 527-548.
    8. Kathleen Segerson, 2013. "Voluntary Approaches to Environmental Protection and Resource Management," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 161-180, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • Q22 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Fishery


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