Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 1–21 | Cite as

Transferable quotas, enforcement costs and typical firms: An empirical application to the Norwegian trawler fleet

  • Kjell G. Salvanes
  • Dale Squires


An alternative to traditional regulations of fisheries to avoid rent dissipation is the use of individual transferable quotas (ITQ s ) where prices in the quota market provide the necessary information to owners of harvest rights to contract with each other. However, even under such a decentralized regime, information on the underlying technology of the fishing vessels is also necessary. First, since most fisheries consist of many interrelated production processes, in order to avoid rent dissipation by discarding wrong output mix etc., the structure of production in the multispecies fishery must be known to design a proper quota system. Second, an ITQ system may create incentives for misreporting by understating the actual catch. This may especially be the case where the expected degree of self-enforcement is low. The paper proposes a way to reduce the information requirements under regulation with asymmetric information by constructing a typical firm and comparing performance for the other vessels to this firm. Based on the typical firm, and if the industry is relatively homogenous, the performance and hence catch of any other firm in the industry can be predicted within a certain range. Further, the paper applies this idea to the Norwegian trawler fleet to assess the production structure in terms of jointness, input-output separability, and the supply and demand elasticities for the fishing firms. This information characterizes the fishery and thus how the quota system may be designed and how to construct a yardstick in order to reduce the enforcement cost under a decentralized regulation of ITQs.

Key words

Transferable quotas enforcement costs profit functions 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kjell G. Salvanes
    • 1
  • Dale Squires
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNorwegian School of Economics and Business AdministrationBergen-SandvikenNorway
  2. 2.National Marine Fisheries ServicesSouthwest Fisheries CenterLa JollaUSA

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