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Policy Analysis in a Spatial Dynamic Environment: The case of Chile's salmon aquaculture industry

(with James N. Sanchirico and Matthew N. Reimer) [Manuscript available by Request]

Infectious disease management is a challenging spatial-dynamic problem. Although theory suggests that coordinated control efforts may be useful, practical implementation of coordination policy in a heterogenous environment can be challenging.  We study this problem in the context of Chile's salmon aquaculture industry where policy-makers have established a spatial management program that enforces coordination between groups of adjacent farm sites. We evaluate the extent to which this program offers protection from pathogens by measuring spillovers between coordinated management units. We use a unique dataset that includes veterinary outcomes and antimicrobial-use decisions for the entire Chilean salmon industry and develop a strategy for identifying causal relationships between adjacent management units. We find limited evidence of disease spillover between management units and we do not find evidence that antimicrobial use is responsive to changes in pathogen pressure. This suggests the neighborhood policy is well matched to the landscape and likely offers protection from transmissible disease. 

Measuring the Effect of Antimicrobial Use under Endogenous Selection

(with James N. Sanchirico and Matthew N. Reimer)

Disease management is a critical economic and ecological challenge for the aquaculture industry. Pathogens not only undermine productivity but reliance on chemical treatments can lead to antimicrobial resistance, threatening the efficacy of therapeutants that are important for both human and animal health. This has prompted interest in developing public policy aimed at evaluating the costs and benefits of antimicrobial use. However, effective policy design requires integrating disease dynamics with the behavioral responses of the people choosing to administer treatment. In this study, we show that behavioral mechanisms can also bias econometric estimates of model parameters that are consequential for policy and suggest an alternative, bias-free estimator. We illustrate this empirically using Chile’s salmon aquaculture industry as a case study 

Regulating Antimicrobial use in Aquaculture 


I develop a dynamic discrete choice model of antimicrobial use in aquaculture, parameterize the model with data from the Chilean salmon industry, and simulate the likely effects of alternative antimicrobial use regulations. 

Environmental, economic, and social sustainability in aquaculture: The Aquaculture Performance Indicators 

(with Taryn Garlock, Frank Asche, and 19 others). In Review.

Aquaculture is a growing food production technology, and there are concerns are related to its environmental impact and adverse social effects. We examine aquaculture outcomes in the three pillars of sustainability by analyzing the Aquaculture Performance Indicators, a novel dataset that scores 57 aquaculture systems sectors worldwide on 88 metrics categorized by social, economic, or environmental outcomes. We first examine the relationships among the three pillars of sustainability and then analyze performance in the three pillars by technology and species. The results show that economic, social, and environmental outcomes are, on average, mutually reinforcing in global aquaculture systems sectors. However, the analysis also shows a significant variation in the degree of sustainability in different aquaculture systems sectors, and weak performance of some production systems sectors in some dimensions, suggesting an opportunity for innovative policy and investment to further align sustainability objectives.

Does conservation finance have a role in global fishery reform? Lessons from a bioeconomic model

(with Suresh A. Sethi and Miguel I. Goméz)

Current contributions from public and philanthropic sources, while significant, are insufficient to finance global fisheries reform. Private capital markets are a largely untapped resource that many argue can help support and sustain sustainable fisheries management. This paper explores this topic by analyzing the challenges and opportunities facing conservation finance, a growing industry seeking to balance financial returns with improvements to local environmental, economic, and social conditions. Using open access fisheries as context, we present the first application of a bioeconomic model to inform conservation finance for fisheries. We identify three strategies described by the conservation finance industry and evaluate their capacity to generate financial returns and to promote positive triple bottom-line impacts. Our model results identify key areas where the stated goals of conservation finance and the broader sustainable development community conflict with the likely outcomes of commonly funded interventions. 

Pike Place fish market
Salmon Farm
Bodega Bay
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