Working paper

Conditional rewards for sustainable behavior: targeting lessons from an open access fishery

Astrid Hopfensitz, Cesar Mantilla, and Josepa Miquel-Florensa


We design and conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment to test the effect of a conditional contract on the sustainability of an open access fishery, where unit prices are conditional on aggregate catch. The contract provides collective incentives to decrease extraction but maintain the individual incentives of extraction maximization. We conduct the experiment with two communities of artisanal fishermen differing in their market and technological restrictions. We find that the conditional contract, compared to a fixed price scheme, increases efficiency, the duration of the resource and the total yield. The contract has a greater effect upon groups from the less restricted community.


artifactual field experiment; dynamic resource; artisanal fishery; stochastic production function;

JEL codes

  • C92: Laboratory, Group Behavior
  • Q22: Fishery • Aquaculture

See also

Published in

IAST working paper, n. 16-35, March 2016