REGULATIONS AND MARINE AQUACULTURE An experimental investigation of the effect of trust and bureaucratic capacity

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: What explains the demand for regulation when institutions are considered ineffective,corrupt or incompetent? This thesis presents a novel study of the public’s attitudes towardsmarine aquaculture and regulation of a new group of actors, fish farmers, that both generate public goods, but also make use of a common good. While previous explanations have shown that the demand for regulation of actors with corrupt institutions can be explained by social distrust and a will to punish and restrain market actors, this study builds on the suggested explanation that it is rather lack of political trust. What it is in political trust has however not yet been explained. A suggested mechanism is that the perceived capacity of bureaucrats handling marine aquaculture leads to a demand for regulation. The main assumption in this thesis is therefore that when institutions are perceived to be ineffective in protecting common resources, the public wants the bureaucrats to work under very detailed regulations rather than having a lot of freedom in their work, instead of restraining fish farmers. A post-test survey experiment with 3.373 respondents could not confirm thissuggested mechanism, nor the explanations found in previous research. The study howeverstill fills a gap in the research. Individuals seem to demand a high degree of regulation ofmarine aquaculture, and this does not hinge upon the perceived effectiveness of eitherinstitutions or fish farmers.

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