In 1986, New Zealand responded to the open-access problem by establishing the world's largest individual transferable quota (ITQ) system. Using a 15-year panel dataset from New Zealand that covers 33 species and more than 150 markets for fishing quotas, we assess trends in market activity, price dispersion, and the fundamentals determining quota prices. We find that market activity is sufficiently high in the economically important markets and that price dispersion has decreased. We also find evidence of economically rational behavior through the relationship between quota lease and sale prices and fishing output and input prices, ecological variability, and market interest rates. Controlling for these factors, our results show a greater increase in quota prices for fish stocks that faced significant reductions, consistent with increased profitability due to rationalization. Overall, this suggests that these markets are operating reasonably well, implying that ITQs can be effective instruments for efficient fisheries management.
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2005
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