Technological Change and Managerial Ability: Evidence from a Malaysian Artisanal Fishery

Ben Gilbert and Bee Hong Yeo


Technological progress can improve economic development, but its role in the harvest of common resources has received little attention. We study the relationship between skill and the use of electronic and mechanical innovations in the productivity of Malaysian artisanal fishers. Surprisingly, electronics users do not define the frontier, and mechanical winch adopters produced well inside it. We show that if technology is a skill substitute rather than a complement, then it helps less efficient users “catch up” to the production frontier. Policy makers must balance the implications for participation rates and resource depletion against gains for the least-skilled participants. (JEL D24, Q22)

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.