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This work presents the results of framed field experiments designed to study the co-enforcement of access to common pool resources. The experiments were conducted in the field with participants in the territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs) management scheme that regulates access to nearshore fisheries along the coast of Chile. In the experiments, TURF members not only decided on harvest but also invested in monitoring to deter poaching by outsiders. Treatments varied whether the monitoring investment was an individual decision or determined by a group vote. Per-unit sanctions for poaching were exogenous as if provided by a government authority, and we varied the sanction level. Our results suggest that co-enforcement, in which monitoring for poaching is provided by resource users and sanctions are levied by the government, can reduce poaching levels. Monitoring investments were not high enough to lift the expected marginal penalty for poaching above the marginal gain from poaching when the sanction for poaching was low, but expected marginal penalties were higher than the marginal gain from poaching when the sanction was high. Despite this, poaching levels were not sensitive to changes in monitoring levels and sanctions. While co-enforcement did not eliminate poaching, it did eliminate the gains from poaching in all but one treatment.


ESI Working Paper 19-18



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