Matching Items (5)

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Social roles and performance of social-ecological systems: evidence from behavioral lab experiments

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Social roles are thought to play an important role in determining the capacity for collective action in a community regarding the use of shared resources. Here we report on the

Social roles are thought to play an important role in determining the capacity for collective action in a community regarding the use of shared resources. Here we report on the results of a study using a behavioral experimental approach regarding the relationship between social roles and the performance of social-ecological systems. The computer-based irrigation experiment that was the basis of this study mimics the decisions faced by farmers in small-scale irrigation systems. In each of 20 rounds, which are analogous to growing seasons, participants face a two-stage commons dilemma. First they must decide how much to invest in the public infrastructure, e.g., canals and water diversion structures. Second, they must decide how much to extract from the water made available by that public infrastructure. Each round begins with a 60-second communication period before the players make their investment and extraction decisions. By analyzing the chat messages exchanged among participants during the communication stage of the experiment, we coded up to three roles per participant using the scheme of seven roles known to be important in the literature: leader, knowledge generator, connector, follower, moralist, enforcer, and observer. Our study supports the importance of certain social roles (e.g., connector) previously highlighted by several case study analyses. However, using qualitative comparative analysis we found that none of the individual roles was sufficient for groups to succeed, i.e., to reach a certain level of group production. Instead, we found that a combination of at least five roles was necessary for success. In addition, in the context of upstream-downstream asymmetry, we observed a pattern in which social roles assumed by participants tended to differ by their positions. Although our work generated some interesting insights, further research is needed to determine how robust our findings are to different action situations, such as biophysical context, social network, and resource uncertainty.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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

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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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Date Created
  • 2015

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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The effect of spatial heterogeneity and mobility on the performance of social-ecological systems

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We use an agent-based model to analyze the effects of spatial heterogeneity and agents’ mobility on social–ecological outcomes. Our model is a stylized representation of a dynamic population of agents

We use an agent-based model to analyze the effects of spatial heterogeneity and agents’ mobility on social–ecological outcomes. Our model is a stylized representation of a dynamic population of agents moving and harvesting a renewable resource. Cooperators (agents who harvest an amount close to the maximum sustainable yield) and selfish agents (those who harvest an amount greater than the sustainable yield) are simulated in the model. Three indicators of the outcomes of the system are analyzed: the number of settlements, the resource level, and the proportion of cooperators in the population. Our paper adds a more realistic approach to previous studies on the evolution of cooperation by considering a social–ecological system in which agents move in a landscape to harvest a renewable resource. Our results conclude that resource dynamics play an important role when studying levels of cooperation and resource use. Our simulations show that the agents’ mobility significantly affects the outcomes of the system. This response is nonlinear and very sensible to the type of spatial distribution of the resource richness. In our simulations, better outcomes of long-term sustainability of the resource are obtained with moderate agent mobility and cooperation is enhanced in harsh environments with low resource level in which cooperative groups have natural boundaries fostered by agents’ low mobility.

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Date Created
  • 2015-01-24

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Transformation of resource management institutions under globalization: the case of songgye community forests in South Korea

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The context in which many self-governed commons systems operate will likely be significantly altered as globalization processes play out over the next few decades. Such dramatic changes will induce some

The context in which many self-governed commons systems operate will likely be significantly altered as globalization processes play out over the next few decades. Such dramatic changes will induce some systems to fail and subsequently to be transformed, rather than merely adapt. Despite this possibility, research on globalization-induced transformations of social-ecological systems (SESs) is still underdeveloped. We seek to help fill this gap by exploring some patterns of transformation in SESs and the question of what factors help explain the persistence of cooperation in the use of common-pool resources through transformative change. Through the analysis of 89 forest commons in South Korea that experienced such transformations, we found that there are two broad types of transformation, cooperative and noncooperative. We also found that two system-level properties, transaction costs associated group size and network diversity, may affect the direction of transformation. SESs with smaller group sizes and higher network diversity may better organize cooperative transformations when the existing system becomes untenable.

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Date Created
  • 2013-11-30