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Understanding Institutional Diversity


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Table of Contents

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

Promotional Information

This will undoubtedly be a very popular, much-assigned, and much-cited magnum opus. -- Carl Simon, University of Michigan What emerges from Elinor Ostrom's book is precisely what the title suggests---an understanding of the diverse nature of institutions that exist in human societies to promote human cooperation or to hinder it. This is a significant work by one of the most thoughtful social scientists in the world and it will attract a large number of readers and enlighten them. -- Peter Boettke, George Mason University

About the Author

Elinor Ostrom is the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, and the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her books include "Governing the Commons: Rules, Games, and Common-Pool Resources" (with Roy Gardner and James Walker); "Heterogeneity and Cooperation in Two Domains" (with Robert Keohane); "Trust and Reciprocity: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Experimental Research" (with James Walker); "The Commons in the New Millennium: Challenges and Adaptations" (with Nives Dolsak), and "Foundations of Social Capital" (with T. K. Ahn).


Winner of the 2006 William H. Riker Book Award, Political Economy Section of the American Political Science Association "Understanding Institutional Diversity is a comprehensive book on the management of the common pool. It includes overviews of major theoretical issues and empirical studies. Anyone who is interested in how common-pool problems are or are not successfully resolved by locally devised arrangement should read it."--Gary D. Libecap, The Independent Review

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