Heterogeneous Response to Marine Reserve Formation: A Sorting Model approach
The bioeconomic impacts of spatial fisheries management hinge on how fishing vessels reallocate their effort over space. However, empirical studies face two challenges: heterogeneous behavioral responses and unobservable resource abundance. This paper addresses these two problems simultaneously by using an unusual data set and an estimation technique developed in the industrial organization literature. We apply the methods to location and species choices in the Gulf of Mexico reef-fish fishery. The models are used to explore spatial effort substitution in response to two marine reserves. Individual attributes from a survey of vessel captains are linked to each fisherman's observed daily trip information to control for observable heterogeneity. Some unobservable abundance information is captured by location- and species-specific constants and estimated by contraction mapping. The empirical results confirm that there is significant heterogeneity in fishermen's response to the formation of marine reserves. They also show that ignoring unobservable abundance information will lead to significant bias in predicting spatial fishing effort. © 2010 The Author(s).
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