, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 163-203

Bargaining theory and cooperative fishing participation on ifaluk atoll

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Abstract

In this paper we examine the merit of bargaining theory, in its economic and ecological forms, as a model for understanding variation in the frequency of participation in cooperative fishing among men of Ifaluk atoll in Micronesia. Two determinants of bargaining power are considered: resource control and a bargainer’s utility gain for his expected share of the negotiated resource. Several hypotheses which relte cultural and life-course parameters to bargaining power are tested against data on the frequency of cooperative sail-fishing participation. Consistent with predictions generated from bargaining theory, we show that (1) age is negatively correlated with cooperative fishing participation, (2) men of highranking clans and men with high levels of education fish less than men of low-ranking clans and less-educated men, (3) men with high expected utility gains from fishing returns fish more than men with low expected utility gains, (4) number of dependents is positively correlated with cooperative fishing participation, and (5) the number of young genetic offspring residing with a man is positively correlated with cooperative fishing participation, whereas the number of genetic offspring more than 13 years old who are residing with a man is negatively correlated with cooperative fishing participation.

This project was generously supported by the National Science Foundation (SBR9423070), L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, UNM Office of Graduate Studies, and UNM Department of Anthropology.
Richard Sosis is Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.
Sharon Feldstein is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geology at the University of Michigan, and a visiting graduate student at the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico.
Kim Hill is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.