Capacity Reduction and Productivity: The Case of Fishery
The paper presents the first ex-post analysis of profit and productivity of individual vessels following a vessel or licence buyback in a fishery. Using individual firm-level data for the period 1997-2000, the paper analyzes a "natural experiment" of the effects of a 1997 scheme to reduce fishing capacity in the South East trawl fishery of Australia. The scheme was unique in the sense that the buyback was implemented in a fishery managed by individual vessel tradeable harvesting rights rather than input controls. Using an innovative index method that decomposes the contributions of output prices, input prices, vessel size and productivity to relative profits, the economic performance of vessels is analyzed in the year of the buyback and for three years afterwards. Profits for all vessel classes rose over the period 1997-2000 following the 1997 buyback of 27 fishing licenses, but some of the gains were due to a rise in output prices that were independent of the adjustment program. All vessel classes (small and large) also experienced substantial productivity gains immediately following the 1997 license buyback with an average increase over all vessels of 39%. This increase, coincident with a decline in catch per unit of effort for key species, provides strong support that the buyback was successful at improving economic performance. Ongoing productivity improvements for small vessels over the period 1998-2000 following the buyback is attributed to the existence of individual tradeable harvesting rights in the fishery.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2003|
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