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The missing T. Path dependency within an individual vessel quota system -- the case of Norwegian cod fisheries

  • Economics
  • Political Science


Introducing ITQs is more than "getting the incentives right". Normally, it entails a long and complicated political process, where the end result is far from predictable even if authorities and fishermen start out with a common goal. The Norwegian experience in the coastal cod fishery is a particularly interesting case in point. An attempt of introducing an ITQ system in the early 1990s failed. Instead, a system of non-transferable IVQs were established in 1990 on a provisional basis. Regardless of the explicit rejection of ITQs by the Norwegian Parliament, the IVQ system in practice seems to entail a system similar to the original ITQ model. Having introduced the "I" and the "Q", the missing "T" appears to be only a matter of time, in a path-dependent development. Here this development is analysed in a nested systems perspective, whereby political and economic interests are considered as operating in separate but not independent systems. The key to understanding the Norwegian case is the creation of a privileged constituency which gradually changes its perception (from open access to closed entry) and hence influences also the political level. Subsequent events like the introduction of distribution keys and the use of unit quotas seem to underpin this development. Even if transferability is limited to vessels with accompanying quotas, the logic of an ITQ system still applies. If this leads to the survival of the most efficient, is, in the Norwegian case, still an open question. The lesson is that institutions matter but politics matters even more!

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