Preferences for Government Enforcement of a Common Pool Harvest Quota: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Fishing Communities in Colombia

Ecological Economics, Vol. 77, May 2012

University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Economics Working Paper No. 2012-02

42 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2012

See all articles by Maria Alejandra Velez

Maria Alejandra Velez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

John Stranlund

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Natural Resources & the Environment - Department of Resource Economics

James J. Murphy

University of Alaska Anchorage

Date Written: January 1, 2012

Abstract

We examine individual harvesters’ preferences for government enforcement of a quota imposed on the exploitation of a common pool resource. We develop a model of Nash behavior by identical risk neutral harvesters to explain individual equilibrium preferences for enforcement of an efficient harvest quota. If the quota is not enforced well, we demonstrate that individual harvesters will always prefer increased enforcement — either increased monitoring or increased penalties — of the quota. We conduct a test of this theoretical result with data from framed common pool resource experiments conducted in artisanal fishing communities in three regions of Colombia. Subjects were given the opportunity to express their preferences for enforcement by voting on two levels of enforcement of a harvest quota, with and without communication. The two enforcement strategies involved the same probability that the government would audit individual harvesters, but differed in the level of the penalty for noncompliance. Contrary to theory, individuals voted for the lower inefficient penalty about 80% of the time and groups implemented this weaker enforcement strategy over 90% of the time. Giving subjects the opportunity to vote on the enforcement strategy did not lead to more efficient harvests, nor did allowing subjects to communicate before voting.

Keywords: common pool resources, field experiments, enforcement, regulation, voting

JEL Classification: C93, Q20, Q28

Suggested Citation

Velez, Maria Alejandra and Stranlund, John and Murphy, James J., Preferences for Government Enforcement of a Common Pool Harvest Quota: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Fishing Communities in Colombia (January 1, 2012). Ecological Economics, Vol. 77, May 2012, University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Economics Working Paper No. 2012-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2175750

Maria Alejandra Velez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

John Stranlund

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Natural Resources & the Environment - Department of Resource Economics ( email )

Stockbridge Hall
80 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9246
United States
413-545-6328 (Phone)

James J. Murphy (Contact Author)

University of Alaska Anchorage ( email )

Anchorage, AK
United States
907-786-1936 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.cbpp.uaa.alaska.edu/jmurphy/

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