External validity of artefactual field experiments: A study on cooperation, impatience and sustainability in an artisanal fishery in Colombia

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Abstract

This paper contributes to the experimental analysis of sustainable behavior in artisanal fisheries and the external validity of economic experiments. We run a standard one-shot public goods experiment and two time preferences experiments with fishermen from Tasajera. It is a small fishing community located in the Caribbean coast of Colombia, which depends mainly on the fishery resources of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta for its livelihood. To investigate the external validity of the experiments, we related the fishermen's individual decisions in the experiments to some indices measuring the ecological impact of fishing activities among the same group of fishermen. We found that fishermen's contributions to the public good and their levels of impatience are not robustly correlated to their real fishing behavior. We argue that the link between fishermen's behavior in the field experiments and real life could be associated to various factors, such as the specific context in which fishermen live, and the way in which cooperation in real life is measured.

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Torres-Guevara, L. E., & Schlüter, A. (2016). External validity of artefactual field experiments: A study on cooperation, impatience and sustainability in an artisanal fishery in Colombia. Ecological Economics, 128, 187–201. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.04.022

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