L. Øfjord Blaxekjær
R. van Ginkel
- Moving beyond panaceas in fisheries governance
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Volume | Issue number
- 115 | 37
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In fisheries management—as in environmental governance more generally—regulatory arrangements that are thought to be helpful in some contexts frequently become panaceas or, in other words, simple formulaic policy prescriptions believed to solve a given problem in a wide range of contexts, regardless of their actual consequences. When this happens, management is likely to fail, and negative side effects are common. We focus on the case of individual transferable quotas to explore the panacea mindset, a set of factors that promote the spread and persistence of panaceas. These include conceptual narratives that make easy answers like panaceas seem plausible, power disconnects that create vested interests in panaceas, and heuristics and biases that prevent people from accurately assessing panaceas. Analysts have suggested many approaches to avoiding panaceas, but most fail to conquer the underlying panacea mindset. Here, we suggest the codevelopment of an institutional diagnostics toolkit to distill the vast amount of information on fisheries governance into an easily accessible, open, on-line database of checklists, case studies, and related resources. Toolkits like this could be used in many governance settings to challenge users’ understandings of a policy’s impacts and help them develop solutions better tailored to their particular context. They would not replace the more comprehensive approaches found in the literature but would rather be an intermediate step away from the problem of panaceas.
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