Economics Working Papers

Publication Date





This paper consistently estimates the structural properties of a multiple-species fishing technology. Our approach overcomes two ubiquitous features of fisheries data generating processes that invalidate classical estimators: (1) unobservability, by the researcher, of the in situ fish stock, and (2) endogenous production decisions that vary with fishermen’s private information about stock abundance and other economic vari- ables. Our estimations obtain consistency by exploiting the timing of production de- cisions and the information available to fishermen when endogenous production scale and scope, i.e., targeting of individual species’, decisions are made. Our estimator adopts methods used in fisheries stock assessment to control for the effects of abun- dance on productivity. A nonlinear instrumental variables estimator controls for en- dogenous scope adjustments. We present an application of our model to the Gulf of Mexico commercial reef fish fishery. Comparison with an estimator that ignores la- tent stock abundance effects and endogeneity in production indicates substantial bias, which can be linked to past fishery management failure.

JEL Classification

C13, Q22

Version History

Original Release Date: December 20, 2018

Latest Revision: February 2, 2019


Department of Economics, Iowa State University

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49 pages