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Interactions between organizations and networks in common-pool resource governance

Publication Abstract

Agrawal, A., Daniel G. Brown, G. Rao, R. Riolo, D. Robinson, and M. Bommarito. 2013. "Interactions between organizations and networks in common-pool resource governance." Environmental Science & Policy, 25: 138-146.

Research on common property and renewable resources has come to be one of the more successful research programs on social-ecological systems. Much of this research has focused on how different kinds of institutions shape the incentives of users who rely on a common-pool resource system for a variety of their needs. In the process, this body of work has greatly advanced knowledge about how organizations and their rules for managing resources can be designed to improve sustainable resource governance. A significant puzzle that has occupied the scholarship on the commons concerns (1) the differences between formally designed and introduced institutions vs. self-organized informal network norms, and 2) the effects of these differences on resources and governance outcomes. This paper analyzes the different effects of informal norms and formal organizations and their rules through an agent-based model. We examine a model of villagers who choose levels of forest consumption based on the information they derive from social interactions with their neighbors (an informal network with two-way flow of information) and an organization that announces prescribed limits on forest product extraction. The paper investigates how changes in the relative dependence of users on information from formal rules vs. informal norms, and the structure of their social networks affect user behavior, harvesting levels, and forest-related outcomes. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI:10.1016/j.envsci.2012.08.004 (Full Text)

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