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An Economic and Institutional Approach to the Use of Natural Common-Pool Resources by the Tourism Industry

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Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Author: Blanco, Esther
Date: 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/3557
Sector: New Commons
Region:
Subject(s): common pool resources
natural resources
tourism
economics
Abstract: "The analysis of the management of natural resources has traditionally been based on the assumption that agents are free-riders. Under this assumption there is no scope for voluntary environmental initiatives, and public intervention or privatization is considered necessary to prevent overexploitation of resources. This approach contrasts with a body of literature on management of natural resources showing that voluntary environmental action is a theoretical possibility and empirical reality. This thesis analyzes the incentives to undertake voluntary environmental initiatives by the users of common-pool resources in tourism, and how changes in the institutional setting affect these incentives. The conceptual framework is based on the 'Institutional Analysis and Development Framework', which guides the development of a family of tightly related analytical game theory models. First, a baseline model is developed in which firms make use of a natural resource under open access, and where they can mitigate their environmental impacts through voluntary unilateral commitments. Voluntary initiatives are costly, but given the market conditions they enable firms to charge price premiums. Building on this baseline model we analyze the effect on firms environmental behavior of institutional change in form of non-binding norms of behavior, the introduction of an environmental standard through regulation, the existence of corruption, the existence of non-regulated firms, and the creation of an ecolabel of voluntary adhesion. We also consider the effect on the incentives of firms behavior of potential heterogeneity of firms as well as the natural resource dynamics." "El analisis de la gestion de recursos naturales se ha basado tradicionalmente en el supuesto de que los agentes son 'free-riders.' Bajo este supuesto no hay cabida paralas iniciativas ambientales voluntarias y la intervension publica se considera imprescindible paraevitar la sobreexpotacion de los recursos. Este planteamiento choca con un cuerpo de literatura sobre destion de recursos naturales que muestra la accion ambiental voluntaria como una posibilidad teorica y una realidad empirica. Esta tesis analiza los incentivos de las empresas turisticas que usan recursos de libre acceso a desarrollar iniciativas ambientales voluntarias y como estos incentivos se ven afectados por cambios institucionales. El marco conceptual se fundamenta en el 'Institutional Analysis and Development Framework' (IAD), que orienta el desarrollo analitico de una familia de modelos de teoria de juegos estrechamente ligados. En primer lugar se desarrolla un modelo base en el que las empresas usan un recurso natural de libre acceso y pueden mitigar sus impactos mediante decisiones unilaterales voluntarias. Las iniciativas voluntarias son costosas, pero dadas las condiciones de mercado permiten a las empresas cargar primas de precio. Sobre este modelo de partida planteamos cambios institutionales en forma de introduccion de normas de comportamiento no vinculantes, implantacion de un estandar ambiental mediante regulacion, existencia de corrupcion, empresas no reguladas y la creacion de una etiqueta verde de voluntaria adhesion. Consideramos tambien el efecto sobre los incentivos de conportamiento derivados de la potencial heterogeneidad de las empresas asi como de la dinamica del recurso natural."

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