Research

My research focuses on the conceptual and econometric modeling of coupled economic/ecological systems with an emphasis on the incentive effects of alternative institutional structures for resource management. I am particularly interested in spatial dimensions of resource use from the fishing decisions of fishermen to the complex distribution of environmental amenities and disamenities in the urban environment. I utilize a wide array of methods in my research including bioeconomic modeling, game theory and microeconometric tools.

Current Research Projects

My work is currently focused in two domains: 1) fisheries economics and policy and 2) the valuation of ecosystem services associated with land use.

Fisheries

  1. Bycatch: The catch and discard of non-targeted species is a major issue in the sustainable management of global fisheries.  My work has examined the degree to which bycatch arises due to poor management institutions that give fishermen insufficient incentives to fish selectively.  One way in which bycatch can often be minimized is through the choice of where to fish and so much of this work has involved spatial modeling.  Collaborators include Jim Wilen (UC Davis) and Alan Haynie (NOAA).
  2. Recreational Fishery Management: There is increasing evidence that recreational angling is a significant source of fish population declines. In order to devise efficient recreational fisheries regulation it is imperative to develop integrated models of the recreational angling system that accurately predict angler behavior in a way that may be fruitfully combined with accepted models of fish population dynamics. A long-standing barrier to the unification of empirical recreational angling demand models and bioeconomic models has been the lack of development of recreational demand models that can consistently explain the seasonal demands of anglers over multiple recreational sites while simultaneously handling the possibility of no participation at many sites (e.g. “corner solutions”). Corner solutions are important both for the modeling of entry-exit decisions and for providing forecasts of visitation across sites. The ability to aggregate the participation decisions of individuals into effort levels is important to model how microeconomic decision making, and incentives and regulations that alter these decisions, map through to impacts on the fish stock. This work is in collaboration with Eli Fenichel (ASU) and is supported by the NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy grant program.
  3. The Aftermath of Catch Shares for the “Deadliest Catch”: The Bering Sea crab fisheries have recently undergone a major change in management over the last few years, from an open access “derby” fishery that lasted only a few days to a system where catch is allocated via tradeable shares of the total allowable catch.  While this change has undoubtedly increased economic efficiency and slowed the pace of fishing to a safer rate, it has not been without controversy.  My work has focused on the impacts of this “rationalization” of the fishery on employment and fishing livelihoods.  I am also examining the pathways for productivity increases in the wake of catch share management.  Collaborators include Brian Garber-Yonts (NOAA) and Jim Wilen (UC Davis).

Land Use

  1. “Unbundling” Urban Ecosystem Services: I am interested in uncovering what aspects of urban landscapes are valued by residents and how these values are reflected in their housing location choices.  Using hedonic price modeling I have investigated how the pattern of housing prices relative to the spatial distribution of open space yields insight into what aspects of open space are valued more highly by residents.  Some of this work has focused on improving the statistical methods for drawing these inferences.  Current work is focused on recovering the implicit value of uses of water in arid cities by an examination of urban lakes in metropolitan Phoenix.  I collaborate on this research with H. Allen Klaiber.

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