Empirical Evidence on the Role of Distribution in Determining Level of Policy Support

Sara A. Sutherland (Utah State University)

Abstract: Individual transferrable quotas (ITQs) have encountered considerable political opposition despite documented improvements in harvesting efficiency and fishery health. This paper analyzes opposition for two different groups- vessel owners and community members. I provide empirical evidence that opposition is higher for political participants that do not own a vessel than vessel owners. Amongst vessel owners, opposition is higher among fishers with the smallest expected gains under ITQ management. I construct novel dataset linking a commenter stated opinion on ITQs, given at a public forum, to occupation information, catch history and expected quota allocation. Results show that fishermen who receive less quota relative to their counterfactual non-ITQ catch are more likely to oppose. For instance, a fisherman who missed one of the grandfathering years is around 20% more likely to oppose ITQs.