The influence of nudges on compliance behaviour in recreational fisheries: a laboratory experiment
Mackay, M and Yamazaki, S and Jennings, S and Sibly, H and Van Putten, IE and Emery, TJ, The influence of nudges on compliance behaviour in recreational fisheries: a laboratory experiment, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 77, (6) pp. 2319-2332. ISSN 1054-3139 (2020) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2019 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Non-compliance is a tenacious problem in recreational fisheries management, posing a risk to marine conservation and socio-ecological systems by, for example, undermining management efforts and creating conflict between resource user groups. In fisheries management, deterrence-based approaches have traditionally been used to tackle non-compliance. However, enforcement is often limited in recreational fisheries and an alternative approach is needed to improve compliance. In this paper, we explore the lessons from behavioural economics and apply nudge theory as the basis of alternative management approaches. Nudge theory argues that through positive reinforcement or indirect suggestion, voluntary compliance can be achieved. We test the influence of a nudge, based on a descriptive social norm, through an economic laboratory experiment in a recreational fisheries context. Our results show that the presence of this nudge can increase compliance behaviour by 10%. We find that a nudge was more effective when deterrence is low, but its effects become weaker when deterrence is already high. We also find heterogeneity across individualís responses to the nudge and risk preferences significantly related to compliance behaviour. Nudges based on social norms have the potential to complement traditional deterrence methods and could prove successful as a cost-effective compliance tool in the marine environment.