New books


Understanding institutional diversity

Elinor Ostrom

Princeton University Press 2005. 376 s. ISBN 0691122385
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

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.

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).



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


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


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