Commons and Institutions For Collective Action


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Commons and Institutions For Collective Action

  1. 1. Institutions for Collective Action <ul><li>I. Commons </li></ul><ul><li>II. Dilemmas </li></ul><ul><li>III. Solutions </li></ul>
  2. 2. Commons <ul><li>Rivalrousness: degree to which one person’s uses diminishes others’ use (subtractability). </li></ul><ul><li>Excludability: the difficulty of excluding others from using the resource </li></ul>
  3. 3. Rivalrousness/Excludability   Excludability: Easy Excludability: Difficult Rivalrousness: High Private Goods (ex. Food) Common Pool Resources (ex. Forest) Rivalrousness: Low Toll Goods (ex. Cable TV) Public Goods (ex. Knowledge)
  4. 4. Commons <ul><li>Common pool resources are rivalrous resources managed under a property regime in which a legally defined user pool cannot be efficiently excluded from the resource domain . </li></ul>
  5. 5. Excludability <ul><li>“ In most situations, excludability is a human artifact rather than an unalterable natural condition” (Oran Young). </li></ul><ul><li>Non-human “user pools” (whales, etc.) exist. Laws, licenses, etc. do not apply. </li></ul><ul><li>Definition of “ efficient ”: we could all wear gas-masks with “air meters” i.e. pay2breathe </li></ul><ul><li>Moral boundary : “Internet technology is a part of the global commons” (Tokyo Declaration on Global Commons). </li></ul>
  6. 6. Rivalrousness <ul><li>The Internet : Paper is rival, bits are not, unless they are forced to be. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Technology <ul><li>Rival into non-rival: spectrum </li></ul><ul><li>Non-rival into rival: intellectual property </li></ul><ul><li>Excludable into non-excludable: Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Non-excludable into excludable: fences, DRM </li></ul>
  8. 8. First-order Dilemmas <ul><li>Tragedy of the Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Logic of Collective Action </li></ul><ul><li>Prisoner’s Dilemma </li></ul>
  9. 9. Tragedy of the Commons <ul><li>Free-rider problem </li></ul><ul><li>Open-access v. shared resource </li></ul><ul><li>Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons </li></ul>
  10. 10. Logic of Collective Action <ul><li>&quot;Unless the number of individuals in a group is quite small, or unless there is coercion or some other special device to make individuals act in their common interest, rational, self-interested individuals will not act to achieve their common or group interests&quot; (Mancur Olson). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Governing the Commons <ul><li>Prisoner’s Dilemma </li></ul>
  12. 12. Second-order Dilemma <ul><li>The perceived cost of solving a collective action dilemma can prevent those trapped in it from making a move to escape. </li></ul><ul><li>The inability of participants to change the structure may or may not be an empirical reality. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Reclaiming the narrative” of the commons (David Bollier) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Institutions for Collective Action <ul><li>Institutions are “the shared concepts used by humans in repetitive situations organized by rules, norms, and strategies” (Ostrom). </li></ul>
  14. 14. Approaches <ul><li>Res nullius (open) </li></ul><ul><li>Res communes (group) </li></ul><ul><li>Res publica (government) </li></ul><ul><li>Res privatae (private) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Successful Approaches <ul><li>“ What one can observe in the world, however, is that neither the state nor the market is uniformly successful in enabling individuals to sustain long-term, productive use of natural resource systems. Further, communities of individuals have relied on institutions resembling neither the state nor the market to govern some resource systems with reasonable degrees of success over long periods of time” (Ostrom). </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperation is an alternative: res communes, not res nullius </li></ul>
  16. 16. Successful Institutions <ul><li>&quot;all efforts to organize collective action, whether by an external ruler, an entrepreneur, or a set of principals who wish to gain collective benefits, must address a common set of problems &quot; (Ostrom). </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;coping with free-riding, solving commitment problems, arranging for the supply of new institutions, and monitoring individual compliance with sets of rules&quot; (Ostrom). </li></ul>
  17. 17. Design Principles (Ostrom) <ul><li>Group boundaries are clearly defined. </li></ul><ul><li>Rules governing the use of collective goods are well matched to local needs and conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Most individuals affected by these rules can participate in modifying the rules. </li></ul><ul><li>The rights of community members to devise their own rules is respected by external authorities. </li></ul><ul><li>A system for monitoring member's behavior exists; the community members themselves undertake this monitoring. </li></ul><ul><li>A graduated system of sanctions is used. </li></ul><ul><li>Community members have access to low-cost conflict resolution mechanisms. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Conclusion <ul><li>Commons management is possible by cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>Consider: If it’s so easy, i.e. if we know how to design effective institutions, then why do we see so many failures? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Paul B. Hartzog <ul><li>[email_address] .com </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>