Cultural and cooperative dynamics of sustainable behaviors and institutions

Cooperative and cultural effects on resource harvesting are likely to influence forestry, fisheries, and agriculture in Maine through a variety of mechanisms. Maine’s local food industry is poised for growth that entails economic, environmental an social benefits. But to provide lasting positive impacts on all three fronts, local food organizations need to be socially and economically sustainable. The proposed project will use a range of social science methods, including economic experiments, to better understand the cooperative, cultural and group factors necessary in building sustainable organizations (such as local food organizations) that support costly pro-environmental conservation practices while maintaining social and economic value. I intend that this industry-relevant information increase the likelihood of the passage of effective local food policy in Maine, with potential spillover influences on other industries. The project will also contribute to an evaluation of solutions to the systemic effects of human effluent in the Maine shellfishery, which may enable improved monitoring, labeling and sales. Finally, with regards to the local food research and outreach efforts, I have developed collaborations with local food organizations across the state, including a position on the research committee for the Maine Food Strategy. This position puts me in direct contact with the needs and interest of citizens, industry, and policy makers through the strategic planning and research process. My job in this position is to guide research to best serve the needs of Maine. This position provides an excellent means to adapt my research and guide other research to produce outcomes that help small farmers, matter to community and make a positive environmental impact.

Investigator: Waring, T.

Unit: School of Economics

Termination Date: 30-Sep-19