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The Commons: Governance and Collective Action

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The Commons: Governance and Collective Action

  1. 1. THE COMMONS. GOVERNANCE AND COLLECTIVE ACTION<br />Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Leticia Merino<br />International Association for the Study of the Commons<br />
  2. 2. «We need to become able go understand complexity and not treat it as synonymous of chaos»<br />Elinor Ostrom<br />
  3. 3. Course Plan<br />What are the commons, building a definition.<br />Commons and panaceas<br />Collective action and property rights<br />Threats of commons governance, the <br /> roll of institutions<br />Polycentricity and social capital<br />
  4. 4. What are the commons?<br />Natural resource systems or socially created, large enough that the exclusion of potential users is difficult or costly.<br />In a large sense they are shared resources<br />Their sustained use demand collective action (cooperation and coordination).<br />
  5. 5. Characteristics of common pool resources: level of exclusion costs<br />Related to the capacity to exclude potential users from the access to resource systems and units of resources.<br /> They result of the nature of the resource, the technologies in use and the social conditions in which use takes place.<br />
  6. 6. Characteristics of common pool resources: level of subtractability<br />It refers to the impacts of the use of a resource of a user on the potential use for others.<br />It is related to the limited nature of resource<br />unites susceptible to be appropriated by<br />different users. <br />A number of resource units is no longer<br />available to potential users due to previous<br />appropriation.<br />
  7. 7. Type of goods/resources<br />
  8. 8. Type of goods/resources<br />
  9. 9. Value of the distinction between<br />Types of goods (or resources) related to the level of exclusion and rivalry present in the use of goods<br /> and<br />Types of property regimes related to: property rights and type of subjects of property rights.<br />
  10. 10. The commons:<br />Today´ s complex societies depend each time more of their ability to jointly manage and maintain common resources.<br />
  11. 11. The Tragedy of the Commons (Science, 1968).<br />Garret Hardin proposed that all resources jointly owned or used would be eventually over-exploited. <br />The causes of over-exploitation are population growth and freedom.<br />
  12. 12. The Tragedy of the Commons (Science, 1968).<br />Garret Hardin proposed that rational individual decisions lead to irrational group dilemmas.<br /> Hardin did not distinguish between open access, common property and common goods. <br />
  13. 13. Lab results<br />When individuals make anonymous decisions and do not communicate and are and over harvest is present at very high rates … even worst than initially predicted<br />
  14. 14. The perspective of the Tragedy of the Commons<br />Presumes that group members are never able to communicate and coordinate around a collective benefit.<br />Presumes that most individuals are always trapped and in a situation of impossibility to cooperate, because individual´ s restriction will always end up benefiting others than those who stand by their commitments.<br />
  15. 15. The perspective of the Tragedy of the Commons<br />Proposes panaceas as universal optimal options for the management of the commons: state centralized control or privatization are the only viable answers for the sustained/efficient governance of all type of goods. They presume that most individuals are trapped while a few others are almost omnipotent.<br />Has purposely influenced public policies without a proper understanding of the causes behind the failure or success of collective institutions.<br />
  16. 16. Privatization Proposals:<br />Perceive collective property as absence of duties and rights, as absence of property.<br />Presume that the division of goods in small units and their privatization always creates ecological rationality.<br />Does not recognize the difficulty or impossibility to divide many resources.<br />Does not recognize that the incentives of private owners are not always compatible with the sustainable use of common goods.<br />
  17. 17. Central State Control Proposals<br />Presume that governments (particularly central governments) can define what is sustainable for a wide variety of circumstances.<br />Have enough monitoring capacities.<br />That the costs of burocracies are non existent or minimal.<br />Do not consider that the incentives of user groups to follow governmental regulations are often scarce.<br />Do not consider the costs of the destruction of local institutions and the creation of open access conditions, in cases where local regulations were in place.<br />
  18. 18. Institutional Panaceas <br />Very often are based in metaphors of ideal states or markets.<br />Make presumptions of over simplified market or states as perfect institutions.<br />Do not have an adequate theory of common goods.<br />They are often dysfunctional, have frequent perverse, unexpected outcomes.<br />
  19. 19. Mancur Olson <br />Individuals access a collective good moved by their own interest.<br />They only contribute to the maintenance of the good if: they are members of smalls group and if they face an external authoritarian rule.<br />
  20. 20. Identifying the Commons<br />Property Rights<br />Global<br />Coordination<br />Inter national<br />Carbon Markets<br />Transboundary River Basins<br />State<br />Nation<br />Space<br />Forests<br />Collective Action<br />Reservoirs<br />Watershed management<br />Irrigation<br />Com-munity<br />Seed Systems<br />IPM<br />Terracing<br />Check dams<br />Agroforestry<br />Plot<br />New seeds<br />Soil Carbon<br />Short<br />Long<br />Time<br />
  21. 21. Understanding Property Rights<br />
  22. 22. Images of Rights<br />Conventional<br /><ul><li>Rigid, unchanging
  23. 23. Divides people
  24. 24. State title
  25. 25. Ownership
  26. 26. Single user</li></ul>Preferable<br /><ul><li>Fluid, dynamic
  27. 27. Connects people
  28. 28. Multiple sources
  29. 29. Bundles of rights
  30. 30. Multiple uses, users</li></li></ul><li>Definitions of Property Rights<br />“The capacity to call upon the collective to stand behind one’s claim to a benefit stream (Bromley)”<br />“Claims that are recognized as legitimate” (ff. Wiber)<br />Only as strong as the institutions that back them up <br />Different legitimizing institutions<br />
  31. 31. Legal Pluralism<br />Recognize many sources of rights<br />State law<br />Project regulations<br />“Customary” law<br />Religious law<br />Local norms<br />Interaction between legal frameworks<br />
  32. 32. Project<br />International<br />State<br />Religious<br />Local/customary<br />
  33. 33. Bundles of Rights<br />Use rights:<br />Access , Withdrawal<br />Control rights:<br />Exclusion<br />Management<br />Alienation (transfer)<br />Usufruct (earn income from)<br />Strengthening someone’s control rights weakens others’ use rights<br />
  34. 34. Classic Property Rights Systems<br />Bundles of Rights<br />Access<br />Withdrawal<br />Classic Commons<br />Public Property<br />Private Property<br />Common Property<br />Management<br />Exclusion<br />Alienation<br />State<br />Collective<br />Individual<br />Holder of Rights<br />
  35. 35. Overlapping Bundles and Holders of Rights<br />Bundles of Rights<br />Access<br />GrazingOff-season<br />Cropping<br />Withdrawal<br />Cropping choices<br />Land use decisions<br />Management<br />Planting Trees<br />Exclusion<br />Allocation to members<br />State claims<br />Alienation<br />Sales to outsiders<br />State<br />Collective<br />Individual<br />Holder of Rights<br />
  36. 36. Forum Shopping<br />Start with people’s experience with access and control of resources<br />Individuals base their claims on whichever legal framework will give them the best hearing<br />Rights are negotiated, contested<br />Source of flexibility, change<br />
  37. 37. Importance of Property Rights-1<br />Incentives<br />Rights as reward for investment<br />Users reap benefits of good management, bear costs of mismanagement<br />For this to be effective, need to go beyond “sense of ownership”<br />
  38. 38. Importance of Property Rights-2<br />Authorization, control over resource<br />Ability to exclude outsiders<br />Regulate members’ use of resource<br />Transform the resource<br />Decision-making authority<br />
  39. 39. Importance of Property Rights-3<br />Welfare<br />Distribution of resources<br />Rights=assets, reduce vulnerability<br />“Fuzzy” property rights, or access options, may be important for survival, fallback options<br />
  40. 40. Importance of Property Rights-4<br />Empowerment<br />Property rights give status<br />To households in community<br />To individuals (women) in household<br />Decision-making authority<br />Standing with the government<br />
  41. 41. The commons<br />They are better managed, administered, governed based on the agreement of key (direct or indirect) users.<br />Beyond cultural and context variability a common problem remains: how to coordinate the use of a resource used by numerous individuals maintaining an optimal rate of production and joint use.<br />
  42. 42. Empirical evidence<br />Thousands of studies of long-enduring management of commons under common property systems<br />See www.iasc-commons.org:<br /> Digital Library of the Commons, <br /> IASC Impact Stories<br /> Youtube section<br /> and …..<br />
  43. 43. The sustainable management of the commons<br />Faces different dilemmas.<br />Requires collective action.<br />Poses important transaction costs.<br />
  44. 44. The sustainable management of the commons faces “collective action dilemmas”<br />The dilemma of credible commitment.<br />The dilemma of efficient and legitimate monitoring (monitoring costs, accountability and legitimacy).<br />The dilemma of institutional offer.<br />Dilemmas nested in other dilemmas.<br />Central role of trust in coping with dilemmas<br />
  45. 45. Common goods´ management problems: appropriation<br />It refers to the need to use resource units without affecting the resource system productive capacities.<br />They often refer to the volume of resource units harvested/use but depending on the type of resource and the type of use they may include other issues (time of use, location, and in general impacts on the system).<br />Appropriation rules need to be addressed with appropriation rules.<br />
  46. 46. Common goods´ management problems: provision<br />It refers to the different conditions required for the maintenance of the resource system. It includes actions oriented towards protection, monitoring and sanction as well as investments in operational rule design.<br />It implies investments of time, knowledge, money and/or other resources.<br />Provision problems need to be addressed with provision rules.<br />
  47. 47. In a large sense the commons <br />Are CPR with important appropriation and provision problems resultant of particular conditions of high rivalry and difficult exclusion<br /> and<br />Public resources traditionally with provision problems, resultant from the difficulty to exclude potential users from resource access (resources opened to the public) who often lack incentives to contribute to the provision of the good (or service).<br />
  48. 48. Other conditions of the commons<br />Conjunction:<br /> Capacities of resource systems to support multiple users without significantly diminishing the aggregate benefits produced by the system.<br />Indivisibility:<br /> Limits within which the division of common goods do not alter sustainable management and the value of their production.<br />
  49. 49. Rules<br />Enable (what is possible): can<br />Prohibit (what is not possible): cannot<br />Obligate (what has to be done): must<br />
  50. 50. INSTITUTIONS<br />Set of rules in use, used to define:<br /> who can make decisions in a certain arena,<br /> which actions are allowed or prohibited and <br /> under which circumstances, <br /> which set of rules has to be used in particular<br /> contexts, <br /> which procedures have to be followed, <br /> which information should be provided or not, <br /> which “payments” individuals should receive<br /> depending on their actions.<br />
  51. 51. Rules as Institutions<br />Rules are institutionalized when those more affected by then are aware of their existence, expect that others monitor their compliance with them and their un-compliance will be sanctioned.<br />Common sense presumes that each participant in a certain arena has full knowledge of the rules and knows that the rest of the group members also know the rules, and know that the rest know the rules. In the real world this is seldom the case<br />Communication and understanding of the rules are needed for the implementation and enforcement of the rules, they demand diverse actions and pose diverse costs.<br />
  52. 52. Types of Rules<br />Boundary rules (resource and group limits)<br />Position rules (different roles)<br />Choice rules (what can be done)<br />Information rules<br />Aggregation rules (control over)<br />Payoff Rules (costs/benefits)<br />Scope Rules (potential outcomes)<br />
  53. 53. Different levels of rules<br />Operational rules, related to the direct use and maintenance of the resource, including monitoring and sanctioning. They are appropriation and provision rules<br />Collective choice, establish how operational rules are defined.<br />Constitutional, frame collective choice and operational rules.<br />All the rules are nested in a sets of rules that define how the first group of rules can be modified.<br />
  54. 54. Changing the rules:<br />The strategies that individuals adopt within the frame of a set of rules are modified more frequently than rules.<br />The change of rules increases the level of uncertainty.<br />It is simpler to modify operational rules than collective choice rules. They are easier to modify than constitutional rules.<br />
  55. 55. Proposals for the analysis and institutional design<br />The users of the commons face a variety of appropriation and provision problems whose structures vary from one context to the other.<br />The users of the commons move in different arenas and levels of action. <br />
  56. 56. Patterns of Interaction<br /><ul><li> Collective
  57. 57. Individual</li></ul>Outcomes<br />Institutional Analysis and Design (IAD)<br />Context<br />Action Arena<br />Characteristics of the Resource<br />Actors (Preferences)<br />Characteristics of the Community<br />Action Situation<br />Rules in Use<br />Page 49<br />
  58. 58. The distinction between types of goods and types of property regimes enables the analysis<br />problems of institutional design (distribution of rights, power and responsibilities between different individuals and groups, rules) <br />adequate for the sustainable management of particular common goods (with particular appropriation and provision needs) <br />in less ideological terms than the polemic around ideal types of property regimes.<br />
  59. 59. Different institutional designs create incentives and des-incentives for different resource users to:<br />commit with rules compliance and<br />commit with the sustainable management of the commons.<br />
  60. 60. Social Capital<br />TRUST<br />Learning to trust others is central for <br /> cooperation,<br />Importance to face to face.<br />NETWORKS OF CIVIC COMITMENT<br />FUNCTIONAL INSTITUTIONS<br />
  61. 61. Design principles, underlying practices of successful rule systems<br />Clear boundaries of users and resources,<br />Congruence with local conditions, and between benefits and costs (appropriation and provision)<br />Collective choice arrangements: Users have procedures to make their own rules<br />Regular monitoring of users and resource conditions<br />Graduated sanctions seen as legitimate<br />Conflict resolution mechanisms<br />Recognition of users´ rights to organize<br />Nested enterprises.<br />
  62. 62. Conditions of resource systems that favor robust institutions<br />Knowledge of the external and internal boundaries of resource systems.<br />Predictability of the flow of resource units.<br />Perception of the need and viability of collective action to promote conservation or improvement of the condition of resource system.<br />
  63. 63. Conditions of user groups that favor robust institutions:<br />Level of dependence on the resource.<br />Previous organizational experience.<br />Shared vision of the resource.<br />Trust and reciprocity.<br />Users with more economic and political power do not benefit from failures of resource regulation.<br />Discount rate.<br />
  64. 64. Some of Ostrom´ s own conclusions <br />Rules need to fit social-ecological context<br />Polycentric systems may enable a fit between human action situations and nested ecological systems<br />Panaceas are dysfunctional<br />
  65. 65. Polycentric institutions<br />Multiple centers of decision-making, governance<br />Different types of institutions: state, private, collective<br />Formal and informal<br />Different levels to deal with problems at different levels<br />Different from subsidiarity: not all institutions are hierarchically arranged<br />

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