What saved the whales? An economic analysis of 20th century whaling
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 13, Number 3, March 2004 , pp. 543-562(20)
Abstract:Catches of whales show a historically cyclical pattern, with catches declining as stocks of the financially most attractive species fell, but expanding as substitute species were caught. Total combined catch peaked in the early 1960s and fell thereafter to the current regulated levels. While it is widely thought that international whaling agreements account for the current stable stock levels, economic analysis reveals that market forces leading to reduced catch were already in place well before the agreements took hold. To some extent, therefore, catches were destined to decline as whale products ceased to be commercially attractive on a large scale. Using econometric analysis, the paper shows the various forces at work: declining stocks, the rise of substitute products, internationally increasing environmentalism, and rising incomes. Of these forces, stock decreases, which resulted in high unit catch costs, and income growth, which reduced rather than increased demand, were the most important factors, with regulation following, rather than leading, catch changes.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand 2: CSERGE-UCL, Department of Economics, University College London, Gower street, London WCIE 6BT, UK; Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College London, UK ( ), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: March 2004