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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeBinary
Variable Component TypeActor
Variable KindComponent
ThemeIncentives (learn about themes)
QuestionAre the costs of leaving the group very high for group members?
Select Options
ImportanceThe more difficult it is to leave a group the more stable the group is likely to be. Consistency of group members in turn has implications for social capital and potential for effective collective action. If it is very easy to leave a group then group members have fewer incentives to act collectively. High costs of exit are generally thought to encourage collective-action (Singleton and Taylor 1992).

Belonging to a particular group - whether a community, resource user group, industry or other collective of actors - has associated costs and benefits. Leaving a group also has associated costs and benefits. Costs can be monetary or non-monetary.


Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used

Associated Studies

Study Citation

Singleton, S., Taylor, M., 1992. Common Property, Collective Action and Community. Journal of Theoretical Politics 4, 309–324. https://doi.org/10.1177/0951692892004003004

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
Galapagos Artisan FishermenNoCoded as no, because although there are costs associated with leaving the fishery (including debt repayments) these are not 'very high' as many fisherman have now left the fishery during the time period being coded and have moved into the tourism sector.
"New Order" Indonesian Central Government (1965-1998)YesIndividuals who left the government lost access to privilege and patronage, and sometimes their freedom, or even their lives. While great wealth could be amassed by Suharto's allies, those outside of this system had limited opportunities and were subjected to political persecution.
Indonesian "Adat" Communities Missing in case
ICCAT Eastern MembersYesAlthough countries may still fish for Eastern ABFT if they leave ICCAT, they would lose legal access to international trade, and the lucrative Japanese sashimi market.
Large Extractive Industries in IndonesiaYesExtractive industries are highly profitable in Indonesia, thus leaving this group involves forgoing large potential profits. On the other hand, those profiting from extractive industries may be able to move their capital into other activities that are also profitable, lowering the costs of leaving the group.
Indonesian Local entrepreneurs ?
Indonesian District Governments It is not clear how to apply the question to this kind of case. I'm not sure what it means for the members of this group to leave? Is it possible for a district government to leave? maybe this needs to be not applicable?
"Reformasi" Indonesian Central Government (1998-2012)NoThis is an error, and should be recoded as "missing in case". It may be that the cost of leaving government employment is not very high, but we really don't have any clear evidence on this point.
Civil society organizations in Indonesia Missing in case
ICCAT Contracting Parties YesIf members choose to leave ICCAT they lose the ability to trade bluefin tuna with other contracting parties, most notably Japan.
ICCAT Western MembersYesAlthough countries may still fish for Eastern ABFT if they leave ICCAT, they would lose legal access to international trade, and the lucrative Japanese sashimi market.
ICPR nations (1976-1986)YesThere was high public awareness of the pollution problem in the Rhine
Australian Toothfish FishersYesCosts of exit is high since these two Australian fishing companies hold the entire quota at the Macquarie and the Heard and McDonald Islands. Further, these companies have worked (and invested) in becoming certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, which adds further value to the fishery. Also, while Toothfish fisheries exist in other areas throughout the circumpolar region, most of them are in other States' EEZ and would not be open to Australian fishing vessels. Some stocks on the high seas (e.g, in the Ross Sea) would be available to Australian fishing vessels, however, these fisheries occur in a highly competitive Olympic Style fashion and Australian vessels would not be guaranteed any portion of the quota.
Wakatobi Bajau fishersYesNo membership fees to be part of this group, but because of high dependence on the resource costs invested in gears/boats are high relative to income. Few alternative livelihoods - high cost to leave.
NWHI Monument Co-Trusteeship Not Applicable
California Academic ResearchersNoResearchers can leave the field or move on to other projects not in SIMoN without any cost. The cost of discontinuing any long-term monitoring study is difficult to assess.
Raja Ampat ManagersNot Applicable
Svalbard TourismYesFor each organization, the boats used for cruises in northern environments cost millions of dollars. This infrastructure investment may present considerable cost to leaving the industry. In addition, in the tourism industry where reputation matters, it may be difficult to ‘jump-ship’, because it would take a while to establish a new operation in a new location.
Seaflower artisanal fishersMissingNO DATA
Cenderwasih fishersYesIn general marine resources are important to local livelihoods (although the level of depedence is variable by village)
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Market Squid ManagersNoNo costs to leaving
SCUBA diving businesses on Gili TrawanganNo
Gili Indah Dive Association (GIDA)YesCosts are related to social norms and trust, rather than economics.
Gili EcoTrust on Gili TrawanganNot Applicable
Palito-Montero AMPR Costa RicaYes
Misool Eco ResortYestry to find evidence showing the pay differences between income of workers for resort and income for the rest of islands. Women are much more likely to be unemployed, with 47% of women showing zero income generating activity in recent months by members of the surrounding villages (TNC Raja Ampat Monitoring Trend Analysis)
Ozone Nation States  Not applicable
Ozone Depleting Substance Industrial ProducersYesNo producer has broken with the Protocol agreement.
Ozone SecretariatNoThe ozone layer is a commons, and so member or non-member states receive the benefit of the treaty regardless of membership.
ICPR nations (1986-2000)YesSee "ICPR Nations (1987-1986)"
Rhine chemical firmsYesPharmaceutical or steel industries require very high capital investments
Rhine agricultural sectorYesMany farmers and farming corporations make important capital investments that need to be recovered.
GBR government co-managersNot Applicable
GBR recreational fishersNoCosts of existing recreational fishing would be relatively minimal. It is a recreational activity and costs of exit would depend on investment in boats and kit. However, there is a market for re-sale.
Wetfish Fishermen 
GBR fisheries managersNot Applicable
GBR commercial fishersYesExiting the fishery can be expensive due to the level of infrastructural investment involved. Boats, licenses etc., can be sold but this is sometimes difficult to do.
National Marine Sanctuaries Office of NOAANoTeams are staffed by the federal government and so no cost to leave from the individual standpoint.
Raja Ampat TourismNot Applicable
Wakatobi managersNot Applicable
Svalbard Resource Managers Not Applicable.
Australian Antarctic DivisionNot Applicable
GMR managersNot Applicable
Riparian Nations (1976-1986) 
Charles Darwin FoundationNoNo cost associated
Galapagos Tourism SectorNot Applicable
Raja Ampat Artisanal FishersYesDependence on the fishery is variable and many households also farm, but fishing is still an important livelihood
CORALINANoGroup members are government employees so it should not be difficult to leave this group by moving to another job or to another location.
NWHI ResearchersNot Applicable
California Sanctuary Recreational UsersYesInvestments such as in whale watching boats, recreational boats, kayaks, storage facilities, and wharf space may be high cost to leave behind for the companies.
California Groundfish FishermenYesMost of the time it is very costly to leave, since it is high cost to invest in gear and takes time and relationships to develop the market.
California State and Federal Fisheries AgenciesNoTeams are staffed by the federal government and so there is no cost for an individual to leave an agency.
Australian Fisheries Management AuthorityNot Applicable
Macquarie Island ManagersNot Applicable
Svalbard Shrimp FishersNoWith large infrastructure costs for fishing vessels, one might assume that the costs for leaving the industry may be high. However, from the mid-1990s to 2010, there was a trend from many, smaller vessels to fewer, larger vessels (NAFO 2006 ). This likely means that the number of fishers has decreased, and thus costs must not have been too high to leave the industry.
Galapagos Charles Darwin FoundationNot Applicable
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Director of National Parks NoGroup members are government employees so it should not be difficult to leave this group. Peter Cochrane, who served as Director of National Parks from 1999 - 2013, was replaced by Sally Barnes and also in 2013, Assistant Secretary Mark Taylor of the Parks and Protected Areas Programs Branch was transferred to another department and replaced by Dr. Barbara Musso.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial FishersYesThe costs of leaving this group can be high due to the level of infrastructural investment involved - statutory fishing rights, fishing permits, licensing fees, boats, fishing equipment.
Cenderwasih managersNot Applicable
Falkland Islands Government (FIG) Fisheries ManagersNoMost managers are recruited from abroad and are given suitable moving expense and housing packages.
Patagonian Squid TrawlersNoTrawlers set up for long distance fishing, so could go elsewhere. But they typically do not.
New Zealand Fishery ManagersNoNo. High turnover rate.
New Zealand Arrow Squid FishersNoBiggest cost is being able to sell quota since there are constraints on it, but no generally no costs to leave
California market squid fishermenNoGetting in is costly, but can leave without cost. Likely more make money leaving by selling permit and vessel.
Indonesian Institute of Sciences - LIPINot Applicable
Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) 
Brazilian Institute of the Environment & Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA)Not Applicable
Isla Caballo AMPR Costa RicaMissing
Paquera-Tambor AMPR Costa RicaMissing
Secretary of State for the Environment of Pará (SEMA) in BrazilNot Applicable
Association of Users in the Caete-Teperacu RESEX (ASSUREMACATA) in BrazilMissing
Lombok aquaculture farmersYes