Collective Action

Conditions for success in natural resource management by volunteer-based organizations: A study of lake management organizations in Vilas County, Wisconsin, USA.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Lakefront property owners form volunteer-based organizations to conserve and manage lakes. In Vilas County, Wisconsin, U.S.A., 115 common pool resource management organizations are organized around lakes. Despite a robust literature on institutional design, few studies endeavor a mid-size comparison of resource management organizations in a single geographic context. We address this gap by comparing thirty-one Vilas County, Wisconsin lake organizations using data collected through semi-structured interviews, websites, and agency databases during the summer of 2019.

Key criteria for successful collaborative management of natural resources

Friday, May 29, 2020

Achieving the Sustainable Development goals is going to require plenty of collaboration – across scales, over space and among a wide variety of stakeholders. It is therefore important that we learn how to collaborate successfully. The question of what makes collaborative management or governance successful has been considered by scholars across several disciplines. However, these largely separate conversations have been taking place in sub- disciplinary clusters of literature without much overlap.

Leading by example and endowment heterogeneity in local public good provision: A framed field experiment in Hyderabad, India

Friday, April 19, 2019

In India’s slums, toilets are commonly shared among households, which creates a collective action problem for the provision of toilet cleanliness and maintenance. We study the effect of heterogeneity and leading by example on cooperation in a framed field experiment with 120 slumdwellers from Hyderabad, India. Endowment heterogeneity has a negative effect on contributions.

The Effect of Infrastructure on Social-Ecological System Dynamics: Provision Thresholds and Asymmetric Access

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

For several millennia, humans have created built environments to harness natural processes for their benefit. Today, human-environment interactions are mediated extensively by physical infrastructure in both rural and urban environments. Yet studies of social-ecological systems (SESs) have not paid suficient attention to how infrastructure influences coupled natural and social processes. This misses an important point: critical infrastructure is often a public good that depends on cooperation of the agents who share it.

Games for Groundwater Governance: Field Experiments in Andhra Pradesh, India

Monday, August 18, 2014

Groundwater is a common pool resource which experiences depletion in many places around the world. The increased use of irrigation and water demanding cash crops stimulate this development. We present results of field experiments on groundwater dilemmas performed in hard rock areas of Andhra Pradesh, India. Two NGOs (Foundation for Ecological Security and Jana Jagriti) ran the games in communities in which they were working to improve watershed and water management. Games were played with groups of five men or five women, followed by a community debriefing.

From Policy Instruments to Action Arenas: The Right to Self-Govern under Conditions of Social-Ecological Change in Nova Scotian Lobster Fisheries

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

To govern the commons, states often focus on structures or instruments, such as delegated co-management or tradable quotas. This research argues that this emphasis often presents a trade-off with making investments into socially just action arenas. I revisit the case of the Port Lameron groundsh and lobster fishery in Southwest Nova Scotia, Canada, originally explored by Elinor Ostrom in Governing the Commons (1990) based on research by Davis (1984).

Addressing Global Sustainability Challenges from the Bottom Up: The Role of Information Feedback

Friday, October 5, 2012

Global sustainable use of natural resources confronts our society as a collective action problem at an unprecedented scale. Past research has provided insights into the attributes of local social-ecological systems that enable effective self-governance. In this note we discuss possible mechanisms to scale up those community level insights to a larger scale. We do this by combining insights from social-psychology on the role of information feedback with the increasing availability of information technology.