Ostracism and Common Pool Resource Management in a Developing Country: Young Fishers in the Laboratory

Summary/Abstract: This paper investigates how the possibility to ostracize, which is a familiar punishment mechanism to subjects in the experiment, affects harvest in a common pool resource experiment. The experiment was framed as a fishing problem and the subjects were young fishers in Ghana. We find that the introduction of the possibility to ostracize other members of a group at a cost to the remaining members of the group decreased overfishing significantly in comparison with a situation where ostracism was not possible. The ostracism was based on at least 50% voting rule. Moreover, the subjects demonstrated a strong desire to ostracize those who over-fished. 

Authors: Wisdom Akpalu & Peter Martinsson

LINK: Journal of African Economies (JAE)

Species diversity, fishing induced change in carrying capacity and sustainable fisheries management

Summary/Abstract:  It is well established in the fisheries management literature that marine ecosystems are complex and marine species depend on one another. As a result, it is important to account for species diversity to ensure sustainable management. In addition, recent research published in the marine sciences literature has provided unequivocal evidence that fishing activities destroy habitats and inhibit production of planktons. This paper illustrates that if a conventional bioeconomic model is employed, an optimum effort policy as opposed to quota appears to result in sustainable management even if fishing impacts carrying capacity. However, the so-called optimum effort may collapse the stock if species diversity is not accounted for. Conversely, if species diversity and the impact of fishing on carrying capacity are considered, neither the equilibrium quota nor effort may guarantee sustainable yield.

Authors: Wisdom Akpalu & Worku T. Bitew

LINK: Ecological Economics (ECOLEC)


A Dynamic Model of Mesh Size Regulatory Compliance

Summary/Abstract:  This paper employs a dynamic model for crimes that involve time and punishment to analyze the use of a net with illegal mesh size in a management regime where each community claims territorial use right over a fishery but has a discount rate that may differ from the social discount rate. The equilibrium stock and harvest levels are found to be much lower if the regulation is violated. Moreover, the optimal penalty for violation must be decreasing in the shadow cost of taking the risk to fish illegally, and increasing the risk of punishment increases the equilibrium stock level.

Author: Wisdom Akpalu

Enforcement of exogenous environmental regulation, social disapproval and bribery

Summary/Abstract: Many resource users are not directly involved in the formulation and enforcement of resource management rules and regulations in developing countries. As a result, resource users do not generally accept such rules. An enforcement officer who has social ties with the resource users may encounter social disapproval and possible social exclusion from the resource users if he/she enforces the regulation zealously. The officer, however, may avoid this social disapproval by accepting bribes. In this paper, we present a simple model that characterizes this situation and derive results for situations where the officer is passively and actively involved in the bribery.

Authors: Wisdom Akpalu, Håkan Eggert, Godwin K. Vondolia

Economics of biodiversity and sustainable fisheries management

Summary/Abstract: Marine ecosystems are complex, and many marine species are ecologically interdependent. As a result, losing a species could produce a cascading effect on other species. Fishery scientists advocate an ecosystem-based approach to fishery management to meet long-term sustainable goals. This paper models the complex interrelationships among species and the relationship between biomass growth and phenotypic diversity. We found that the equilibrium stock and catch/yield levels are overestimated when the diversity is not accounted for. Consequently, if species are diverse, fishery policy based on a single fishery management could overestimate catch potentials and potentially results in biological overfishing and stock collapse.

Authors: Wisdom Akpalu

Bioeconomic model of spatial fishery management in developing countries

Summary/Abstract: Fishers in developing countries do not have the resources to acquire advanced technologies to exploit offshore fish stocks. As a result, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea requires countries to sign partnership agreements with distant water fishing nations (DWFNs) to exploit offshore stocks. However, for migratory stocks, the offshore may serve as a natural marine reserve (i.e. a source) to the inshore (i.e. sink); hence hese partnership agreements generate spatial externality.In this paper, we present a bioeconomic model in which a social planner uses a landing tax (ad valorem tax) to internalize this spatial externality. We found that the tax must reflect the biological connectivity between the two patches, intrinsic growth rate, the price of fish, and cost per unit effort. The results are empirically illustrated using data on Ghana.

Authors: Wisdom Akpalu & Godwin K. Vondolia

LINK: Environment and Development Economics (EDE)

Demand for cooking fuels in a developing country: To what extent do taste and preferences matter?

Summary/Abstract: Overreliance on biomass energy, such as firewood and charcoal, for cooking in developing countries has contributed to high rates of deforestation and resulted in substantial indoor pollution which has negatively impacted the health of many individuals. However, the effectiveness of public policies aimed at encouraging households to switch to cleaner fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene, hinges on the extent to which they are mentally committed to specific fuels. Using data on four cooking fuels (charcoal, firewood, LPG, and kerosene) from the Ghana living standards survey, we found strong evidence that the most preferred fuel is LPG, followed by charcoal, with kerosene the least preferred. In addition, with the exception of kerosene that has price-elastic demand, the price elasticities of demand for the fuel types examined are inelastic. This finding suggests the so-called fuel-ladder is not robust.

Authors: Wisdom Akpalu, Isaac Dasmani & Peter B. Aglobitse

LINK: Energy Policy


Determinants of noncompliance with light attraction regulation among inshore fishers in Ghana

Summary/Abstract: In many developing coastal countries, wild fish stocks have been overexploited. Moreover, evolution of fishing techniques has exacerbated the problem of stock depletion. In Ghana, some inshore fishers acquire and use light attraction equipment to improve their efficiency, which is illegal. Since this crime is committed repeatedly, this study employs an illegal–legal fishery crime model to investigate the determinants of noncompliance with the regulation. The severity of punishment, individual discount rates, and social pressure are found to determine both the decision to violate and the investment in the illegal equipment a proxy for severity of violation of the regulation. Furthermore, age of the skipper, the number of dependants that a fisher has and the extent to which the skipper perceives the regulation to be unfair explain the decision to violate only, while the risk of punishment explains the severity of violation of the regulation only.

Authors: Wisdom Akpalu

LINK: Journal of Socio-Economics (SOCECO)

Climate variability and maize yield in the Limpopo region of South Africa: Results from GME and MELE methods

Summary/Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of climate variability on maize yield in the Limpopo Basin of South Africa using the generalized maximum entropy (GME) estimator and maximum entropy Leuven estimator (MELE). Precipitation and temperature were used asproxies for climate variability, which were combined with traditional input variables (i.e. labour, fertilizer, seed and irrigation). Based on pseudo R-squared, we found that the GME fits the data better than MELE. In addition, increased precipitation, increased temperature and irrigation have a positive impact on yield. Furthermore, the results of the GME show that the impact of precipitation on maize yield is weaker than that of temperature. However, the impact of climate variability on maize yield could be negative if it increases temperature marginally but reduces precipitation to a very large extent simultaneously. Moreover, the impact of irrigation on yield is positive and with a higher elasticity coefficient than that of precipitation, which supposes that the present system of irrigation could mitigate the impact of reduced precipitation on yield.

Authors: Wisdom Akpalu, Rashid M. Hassan & Claudia Ringler

LINK: Climate and Development (CDEV)