Technological Change and the Tragedy of the Commons: The Lofoten Fishery over 130 Years

Rögnvaldur Hannesson, Kjell G. Salvanes and Dale Squires


We analyze the effect of technological change on labor and total factor productivity in the Lofoten fishery, using detailed data for 130 years. Our findings support the important role of natural resources in productivity and improvements in welfare in natural resource–based industries. The total factor productivity has risen faster than labor productivity in the fishery, indicating that the considerable technological progress in this industry has to some extent been neutralized by the decline in the fish stock. Open access to the fish resource most probably led to this situation. (JEL Q22)

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