Traditional sectors, such as agriculture and fishing, often receive special treatment from policymakers because such sectors are perceived to be associated with traditional cultural public good values. However, these values are often difficult to measure, and few attempts have been made to do so. The recent European Union (EU) eel management directive creates an unusually clear-cut tradeoff between eel fishing and other agents affecting the European eel population. It is possible, therefore, to directly measure the perceived public good value of the eel fishery in terms of other economic costs that policymakers are willing to incur in order to maintain eel fishing. Using Swedish data, we find that Swedish policymakers value the public good aspect of the remaining Swedish eel fishery at a minimum of SEK 34 million (approximately EUR 3.4 million) annually, which is more than the commercial eel fishery's actual production value.
JEL Codes: D78, H41, Q22.