Tagged tuna graphic by Nancy Hulbirt, SOEST Illustration.

PFRP Economics Projects

The Role of Social Networks on Fishermen Economic Performance in Hawaii's Longline Fishery

Progress Reports: FY 2012, FY 2011

Project Summary

This proposal seeks to examine the role of Social Network Capital on vessel economic performance in the Hawaii Longline Fishery (HLF). With an ethnically fragmented participation structure, the HLF offers an interesting case to examine Social Network Capital effects. Our research framework combines two methodological tools: Social Network Analysis (SNA) and stochastic production frontier analysis. We intend to collect detailed information on social linkages in the HLF and perform a SNA on the HLF. After constructing appropriate sociometric measures of Social Network Capital, we will then estimate its economic returns for longliners. More specifically, the proposal will:

1) Perform a Social Network Analysis of the HLF

2) Estimate the return to Social Network Capital on vessel economic performance

This proposal is in tune with the priority setting of the PFRP under the applied economics theme. Its proposed work extends previous PFRP projects and will have synergistic linkages to ongoing/future projects within PFRP. The information generated will be informative to the planning of regulatory programs for the HLF fishery management.

Expected Outcomes

Outcome 1: Social Network Analysis of the HLF. The assembly of a social network database will serve as a valuable tool for not only this research, but will contribute useful understanding to the flow of fishing operations (communication sharing, transshipments of catch, turtle bycatch reduction strategies) and provide insight to implementing regulatory shifts such as the ongoing discussions of a pelagic catch shares program. Successful adoption of catch shares will require commitment and agreement among all fishermen groups. Knowledge of HLF’s social networks structure could dramatically improve the design and execution of such a shift in management policy.

Outcome 2: An academic study estimating the returns of Social Network Capital on individual vessel technical/profit efficiency. This will be the first study to look at the economic returns to Social Network Capital in the fishery literature. The HLF provides an interesting case that is worthy of scholarly attention. We intend to produce estimates of the returns to Social Network Capital and explore the structural linkages between social networks and information sharing. We plan to publish our findings in peer-reviewed journals advancing the research in this area, and as a technical bulletin for dissemination beyond the academic community.

Outcome 3: A platform to launch future research in social networks and informational flows. We envision this project as an initiative that intends to lead to future work in this area. A future agenda is to explore the structural mechanisms of how social networks influence economic outcomes. Central to this research theme is the linking of informational flows to individual decision making via social networks. Recent works by Conley & Udry (2010) and Van den Broeck & Dercon (2010) studying the adoption of technology in developing community agriculture production, provide nice empirical examples demonstrating this linkage that manifest itself through social learning and informational upgrading responses of individual actors. Due to enormous socio-economic data demands, empirically showing this kind of direct connection is often infeasible, but the results of this project's efforts will lay the necessary groundwork to engaging in this research agenda. Such work would expand upon Curtis & McConnell’s (2004) previous examination of information sharing in the HLF. While their study found little evidence for information sharing in their analysis of HLF spatial decisions, their analysis did not incorporate the role of social networks and private sharing of information. Incorporating discriminatory sharing of information of spatial decisions via social networks would be a valuable contribution to the field. Further testable information sharing mechanisms includes linking social networks with decision-making patterns for turtle bycatch reduction strategies, transshipments patterns between vessel boats, and diffusion of technological innovations.

Funding for this project to be available late 2010.

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Broeck, K. V. and S. Dercon. 2010. "Social Interactions in Growing Bananas: Evidence from a Tanzanian Village." Journal of Development Studies, Forthcoming.

Conley, T. G. and C. R. Udry. 2010. "Learning About a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana." American Economic Review, Forthcoming.

Principal Investigators

Dr. PingSun Leung
Dept. Natural Resources and Environmental Management
University of Hawaii
1910 East-West Road, Sherman 101
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
Phone (808) 956-8562
Fax (808) 956-6539
email: psleung@hawaii.edu

Mr. Shawn Arita
Dept. Natural Resources and Environmental Management
University of Hawaii
1910 East-West Road, Sherman 101
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
Phone (808) 956-8819
Fax (808) 956-6539
email: aritas@hawaii.edu

Dr. Stewart Allen
Human Dimensions Research Program
NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
1601 Kapiolani Blvd, Suite 1110
Honolulu, HI 96814 USA
Phone (808) 983-5300
Fax (808) 983-2902
email: stewart.allen@noaa.gov


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