Human Nature

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 163–203 | Cite as

Bargaining theory and cooperative fishing participation on ifaluk atoll

  • Richard SosisEmail author
  • Sharon Feldstein
  • Kim Hill


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.

Key words

Barganing theory Collective action Cooperative fishing Micronesia 


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© Walter de Gruyter, Inc 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerque

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