"Maryland officials enlisted the help of PhDs this summer, trying to use modern economic theory to solve a problem that has been brewing for 40 years. There are too few blue crabs in the bay and too many watermen licensed to catch them.
The economists' solution: a "reverse auction." The state would buy some licenses back, and each crabber could name his price.
It didn't work. Last week, the state gave up on the auction, saying the bids were too few and too high. "