Understanding institutional diversity


Understanding institutional diversity

Elinor Ostrom

(Princeton paperbacks)

Princeton University Press, c2005

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [307]-349) and index



The analysis of how institutions are formed, how they operate and change, and how they influence behavior in society has become a major subject of inquiry in politics, sociology, and economics. A leader in applying game theory to the understanding of institutional analysis, Elinor Ostrom provides in this book a coherent method for undertaking the analysis of diverse economic, political, and social institutions. Understanding Institutional Diversity explains the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, which enables a scholar to choose the most relevant level of interaction for a particular question. This framework examines the arena within which interactions occur, the rules employed by participants to order relationships, the attributes of a biophysical world that structures and is structured by interactions, and the attributes of a community in which a particular arena is placed. The book explains and illustrates how to use the IAD in the context of both field and experimental studies. Concentrating primarily on the rules aspect of the IAD framework, it provides empirical evidence about the diversity of rules, the calculation process used by participants in changing rules, and the design principles that characterize robust, self-organized resource governance institutions.


List of Illustrations xi Acknowledgments xiii PART I: AN OVERVIEW OF THE INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS AND DEVELOPMENT (IAD)FRAMEWORK 1 Chapter One: Understanding the Diversity of Structured Human Interactions 3 Diversity: A Core Problem in Understanding Institutions 4 Is There an Underlying Set of Universal Building Blocks? 5 Holons: Nested Part-Whole Units of Analysis 11 Action Arenas as Focal Units of Analysis 13 Zooming Out to an Overview of the IAD Framework 15 Viewing Action Arenas as Dependent Variables 16 Institutional Frameworks, Theories, and Models 27 The Limited Frame of This Book 29 Chapter Two: Zooming In and Linking Action Situations 32 An Action Situation as a Focal Unit of Analysis 32 Example of a Simple Action Situation 35 The Basic Working Parts of Action Situations 37 Linking Action Arenas 55 Predicting Outcomes 64 Evaluating Outcomes 66 Chapter Three: Studying Action Situations in the Lab 69 The Trust Game in the Experimental Laboratory 70 A Commons Dilemma in the Experimental Laboratory 78 Structural Changes in the Laboratory 85 Replications and Extensions of Commons Dilemma Experiments 93 Conclusions 97 Chapter Four: Animating Institutional Analysis 99 Animating Open, Competitive Processes 100 The Challenge of Imperfect Information 101 Assumptions Used in Animating Participants 103 Variety and Complexity: An Asset or a Liability? 116 A Focus on Collective Action to Overcome Social Dilemmas 119 Norms Fostering Collective Action 121 Emergence and Survival of Norms in Evolutionary Processes 125 Conclusion 131 PART II: FOCUSING ON RULES 135 Chapter Five: A Grammar of Institutions, Sue Crawford and Elinor Ostrom 137 Parsing Institutional Statements 137 The Syntax of a Grammar of Institutions 139 The Syntax Components 140 Applying the Grammar 152 Using the Grammar in Empirical Field Research 171 Some Next Steps 173 Chapter Six: Why Classify Generic Rules? 175 Solving Babbling Equilibrium Problems 176 The Policy Analyst 's Need to Understand How to Reform Situations 180 Moving beyond Slogan Words to Describe Institutions 181 Coping with the Immense Diversity by Identifying Generic Rules 181 The Role of Rules as Information Transformation Mechanisms 184 An Underlying Universality? 185 Chapter Seven: Classifying Rules, Elinor Ostrom and Sue Crawford 186 The Horizontal Approach: Classifying by the A I M of a Rule 187 Position Rules 193 Boundary Rules 194 Choice Rules 200 Aggregation Rules 202 Information Rules 206 Payoff Rules 207 Scope Rules 208 Default Conditions: What Happens if No Rules Exist Related to Components of an Action Situation? 210 The Vertical Approach: Operational, Collective-Choice, and Constitutional-Choice Levels of Analysis 214 Using Rules as Tools to Change Outcomes 215 PART III: WORKING WITH RULES 217 Chapter Eight: Using Rules as Tools to Cope with the Commons 219 Field Research on Common-Pool Resources 221 What Rules Are Found in Self-Organized Common-Pool Resource Regimes? 222 Contemporary Approaches to Resource Policy 236 Coping with Complexity: A General Problem 242 Changing Rules as an Adaptive Process 243 Theoretical Puzzles 251 Summing Up 253 Chapter Nine: Robust Resource Governance in Polycentric Institutions 255 Design Principles and Robust Social-Ecological Systems 258 Threats to Robust Governance of Common-Pool Resources 271 Modest Coping Methods for Dealing with Threats to Sustainability 279 The Advantage and Limits of Polycentric Systems in Coping with Design and Long-Term Sustainability of Systems 281 The Capabilities of Polycentric Systems in Coping with Tragedies of the Commons 283 Conclusion 287 Notes 289 References 307 Index 351

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