The perverse risks of strong enforcement

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Associate Professor Michael Bode
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty

External supervisors

  • Richard Hamilton, The Nature Conservancy
  • Peter Waldie, The Nature Conservancy


Environmental groups often argue that governments should have strong regulatory powers. That is, they should be allowed to:

  • close down fisheries (e.g., the international whale fishery)
  • ban the export of exploited organisms (e.g., the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES)
  • make environmentally destructive actions illegal (e.g., land clearing). 

However, if the economic actors who are exposed to these changes – the fishers, hunters, farmers – are aware that changes are imminent, they might take strategic, preventative steps to avoid the associated costs.

Research activities

In this project, we are going to calculate the potentially perverse consequences of strong environmental regulation, with reference to two important case-studies:

  1. land clearing laws in Queensland and New South Wales
  2. the export-orientated fisheries of Papua New Guinea.

Skills and experience

We expect students to have competency with quantitative analyses.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.