To fish or not to fish? Resource degradation and income diversification in Benin

Nik Stoop, Romain Houssa, Marijke Verpoorten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors study the impact of natural resource degradation on income diversification in Beninese fishing communities. Using survey data and econometric analysis, they show that fishermen are more likely to diversify their income when the degradation of the fish stock is more severe. However, the level of income diversification that they find is surprisingly low and far from sufficient to relieve the stress on the lakes. The latter relates to low levels of formal education among fishermen and the unregulated use of highly productive, but damaging, fishing gear. These two factors result in a high return to fishing relative to non-fishing activities, even amid degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Development Economics
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

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