This growing collection consists of scholarly works authored by ASU-affiliated faculty, students, and community members, and it contains many open access articles. ASU-affiliated authors are encouraged to Share Your Work in KEEP.

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An iterative approach to case study analysis: insights from qualitative analysis of quantitative inconsistencies

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Large-N comparative studies have helped common pool resource scholars gain general insights into the factors that influence collective action and governance outcomes. However, these studies are often limited by missing

Large-N comparative studies have helped common pool resource scholars gain general insights into the factors that influence collective action and governance outcomes. However, these studies are often limited by missing data, and suffer from the methodological limitation that important information is lost when we reduce textual information to quantitative data. This study was motivated by nine case studies that appeared to be inconsistent with the expectation that the presence of Ostrom’s Design Principles increases the likelihood of successful common pool resource governance. These cases highlight the limitations of coding and analysing Large-N case studies. We examine two issues: 1) the challenge of missing data and 2) potential approaches that rely on context (which is often lost in the coding process) to address inconsistencies between empirical observations theoretical predictions. For the latter, we conduct a post-hoc qualitative analysis of a large-N comparative study to explore 2 types of inconsistencies: 1) cases where evidence for nearly all design principles was found, but available evidence led to the assessment that the CPR system was unsuccessful and 2) cases where the CPR system was deemed successful despite finding limited or no evidence for design principles. We describe inherent challenges to large-N comparative analysis to coding complex and dynamically changing common pool resource systems for the presence or absence of design principles and the determination of “success”. Finally, we illustrate how, in some cases, our qualitative analysis revealed that the identity of absent design principles explained inconsistencies hence de-facto reconciling such apparent inconsistencies with theoretical predictions. This analysis demonstrates the value of combining quantitative and qualitative analysis, and using mixed-methods approaches iteratively to build comprehensive methodological and theoretical approaches to understanding common pool resource governance in a dynamically changing context.

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  • 2016-09-09

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Irrigation experiments in the lab: trust, environmental variability, and collective action

Description

Research on collective action and common-pool resources is extensive. However, little work has concentrated on the effect of variability in resource availability and collective action, especially in the context of

Research on collective action and common-pool resources is extensive. However, little work has concentrated on the effect of variability in resource availability and collective action, especially in the context of asymmetric access to resources. Earlier works have demonstrated that environmental variability often leads to a reduction of collective action in the governance of shared resources. Here we assess how environmental variability may impact collective action. We performed a behavioral experiment involving an irrigation dilemma. In this dilemma participants invested first into a public fund that generated water resources for the group, which were subsequently appropriated by one participant at a time from head end to tail end. The amount of resource generated for the given investment level was determined by a payoff table and a stochastic event representing environmental variability, i.e., rainfall. Results show that that (1) upstream users’ behavior is by far the most important variable in determining the outcome of collective action; (2) environmental variability (i.e. risk level in investing in the resource) has little effect on individual investment and extraction levels; and (3) the action-reaction feedback is fundamental in determining the success or failure of communities.

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  • 2015

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Boundary object or bridging concept? A citation network analysis of resilience

Description

Many recent studies observe the increasing importance, influence, and analysis of resilience as a concept to understand the capacity of a system or individual to respond to change. The term

Many recent studies observe the increasing importance, influence, and analysis of resilience as a concept to understand the capacity of a system or individual to respond to change. The term has achieved prominence in diverse scientific fields, as well as public discourse and policy arenas. As a result, resilience has been referred to as a boundary object or a bridging concept that is able to facilitate communication and understanding across disciplines, coordinate groups of actors or stakeholders, and build consensus around particular policy issues. We present a network analysis of bibliometric data to understand the extent to which resilience can be considered as a boundary object or a bridging concept in terms of its links across disciplines and scientific fields. We analyzed 994 papers and 35,952 citations between them to reveal the connectedness and links between and within fields. We analyzed the network according to different fields, modules, and sub-fields, showing a highly clustered citation network. Analyzing betweenness allowed us to identify how particular papers bridge across fields and how different fields are linked. With the exception of a few specific papers, most papers cite exclusively within their own field. We conclude that resilience is to an extent a boundary object because there are shared understandings across diverse disciplines and fields. However, it is more limited as a bridging concept because the citations across fields are concentrated among particular disciplines and papers, so the distinct fields do not widely or routinely refer to each other. There are some signs of resilience being used as an interdisciplinary concept to bridge scientific fields, particularly in social-ecological systems, which may itself constitute an emerging sub-field.

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  • 2015

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The Role of Diverse Strategies in Sustainable Knowledge Production

Description

Online communities are becoming increasingly important as platforms for large-scale human cooperation. These communities allow users seeking and sharing professional skills to solve problems collaboratively. To investigate how users cooperate

Online communities are becoming increasingly important as platforms for large-scale human cooperation. These communities allow users seeking and sharing professional skills to solve problems collaboratively. To investigate how users cooperate to complete a large number of knowledge-producing tasks, we analyze Stack Exchange, one of the largest question and answer systems in the world. We construct attention networks to model the growth of 110 communities in the Stack Exchange system and quantify individual answering strategies using the linking dynamics on attention networks. We identify two answering strategies. Strategy A aims at performing maintenance by doing simple tasks, whereas strategy B aims at investing time in doing challenging tasks. Both strategies are important: empirical evidence shows that strategy A decreases the median waiting time for answers and strategy B increases the acceptance rate of answers. In investigating the strategic persistence of users, we find that users tends to stick on the same strategy over time in a community, but switch from one strategy to the other across communities. This finding reveals the different sets of knowledge and skills between users. A balance between the population of users taking A and B strategies that approximates 2:1, is found to be optimal to the sustainable growth of communities.

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  • 2016-03-02

Challenges and opportunities in coding the Commons: problems procedures, and potential solutions in large-N comparative case studies

Description

On-going efforts to understand the dynamics of coupled social-ecological (or more broadly, coupled infrastructure) systems and common pool resources have led to the generation of numerous datasets based on a

On-going efforts to understand the dynamics of coupled social-ecological (or more broadly, coupled infrastructure) systems and common pool resources have led to the generation of numerous datasets based on a large number of case studies. This data has facilitated the identification of important factors and fundamental principles which increase our understanding of such complex systems. However, the data at our disposal are often not easily comparable, have limited scope and scale, and are based on disparate underlying frameworks inhibiting synthesis, meta-analysis, and the validation of findings. Research efforts are further hampered when case inclusion criteria, variable definitions, coding schema, and inter-coder reliability testing are not made explicit in the presentation of research and shared among the research community. This paper first outlines challenges experienced by researchers engaged in a large-scale coding project; then highlights valuable lessons learned; and finally discusses opportunities for further research on comparative case study analysis focusing on social-ecological systems and common pool resources.||Includes Supplemental materials and appendices publications in International Journal of the Commons 2016 Special Issue. Volume 10 - Issue 2 - 2016

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  • 2016-09-09

Explaining Success and Failure in the Commons: The configural nature of Ostrom's Institutional Design Principles

Description

Governing common pool resources (CPR) in the face of disturbances such as globalization and climate change is challenging. The outcome of any CPR governance regime is the influenced by local

Governing common pool resources (CPR) in the face of disturbances such as globalization and climate change is challenging. The outcome of any CPR governance regime is the influenced by local combinations of social, institutional, and biophysical factors, as well as cross-scale interdependencies. In this study, we take a step towards understanding multiple-causation of CPR outcomes by analyzing 1) the co-occurrence of Destign Principles (DP) by activity (irrigation, fishery and forestry), and 2) the combination(s) of DPs leading to social and ecological success. We analyzed 69 cases pertaining to three different activities: irrigation, fishery, and forestry. We find that the importance of the design principles is dependent upon the natural and hard human made infrastructure (i.e. canals, equipment, vessels etc.). For example, clearly defined social bounduaries are important when the natural infrastructure is highly mobile (i.e. tuna fish), while monitoring is more important when the natural infrastructure is more static (i.e. forests or water contained within an irrigation system). However, we also find that congruence between local conditions and rules and proportionality between investment and extraction are key for CPR success independent from the natural and human hard made infrastructure. We further provide new visualization techniques for co-occurrence patterns and add to qualitative comparative analysis by introducing a reliability metric to deal with a large meta-analysis dataset on secondary data where information is missing or uncertain.||Includes Supplemental materials and appendices publications in International Journal of the Commons 2016 Special Issue. Volume 10 - Issue 2 - 2016

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  • 2016-09-09

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Studying the complexity of change: toward an analytical framework for understanding deliberate social-ecological transformations

Description

Faced with numerous seemingly intractable social and environmental challenges, many scholars and practitioners are increasingly interested in understanding how to actively engage and transform the existing systems holding such problems

Faced with numerous seemingly intractable social and environmental challenges, many scholars and practitioners are increasingly interested in understanding how to actively engage and transform the existing systems holding such problems in place. Although a variety of analytical models have emerged in recent years, most emphasize either the social or ecological elements of such transformations rather than their coupled nature. To address this, first we have presented a definition of the core elements of a social-ecological system (SES) that could potentially be altered in a transformation. Second, we drew on insights about transformation from three branches of literature focused on radical change, i.e., social movements, socio-technical transitions, and social innovation, and gave consideration to the similarities and differences with the current studies by resilience scholars. Drawing on these findings, we have proposed a framework that outlines the process and phases of transformative change in an SES. Future research will be able to utilize the framework as a tool for analyzing the alteration of social-ecological feedbacks, identifying critical barriers and leverage points and assessing the outcome of social-ecological transformations.

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  • 2013-11-30

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Hunter-Gatherer Inter-Band Interaction Rates: Implications for Cumulative Culture

Description

Our species exhibits spectacular success due to cumulative culture. While cognitive evolution of social learning mechanisms may be partially responsible for adaptive human culture, features of early human social structure

Our species exhibits spectacular success due to cumulative culture. While cognitive evolution of social learning mechanisms may be partially responsible for adaptive human culture, features of early human social structure may also play a role by increasing the number potential models from which to learn innovations. We present interview data on interactions between same-sex adult dyads of Ache and Hadza hunter-gatherers living in multiple distinct residential bands (20 Ache bands; 42 Hadza bands; 1201 dyads) throughout a tribal home range. Results show high probabilities (5%–29% per year) of cultural and cooperative interactions between randomly chosen adults. Multiple regression suggests that ritual relationships increase interaction rates more than kinship, and that affinal kin interact more often than dyads with no relationship. These may be important features of human sociality. Finally, yearly interaction rates along with survival data allow us to estimate expected lifetime partners for a variety of social activities, and compare those to chimpanzees. Hadza and Ache men are estimated to observe over 300 men making tools in a lifetime, whereas male chimpanzees interact with only about 20 other males in a lifetime. High intergroup interaction rates in ancestral humans may have promoted the evolution of cumulative culture.

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  • 2014-07-21