Fall 2007 Colloquia


Colloquia during Fall 2007





Monday, September 3, 2007




Presented by Dr. Edella Schlager, Associate Professor, School of Public Administration and Policy, University of Arizona, Tucson


Abstract: This paper examines the institutional processes and mechanisms used by U.S. western states to engage in shared governance of interstate rivers, especially efforts at strengthening cross-state linkages to improve watershed governance. The most common mechanism used by states to govern shared rivers is a compact, which is a treaty among semi-autonomous governments. Compacts are generally viewed as inflexible, rigid governance structures incapable of responding to changing environmental and institutional settings. Using data from an NSF funded study of 15 western interstate river compacts we examine this claim. In particular, we explore the response of compacts to water conflicts. Water conflicts often emerge in response to changing circumstances – such as the development and use of new sources of water or the emergence of new values – conditions that can challenge the compatibility of compacts as cross-scale governance mechanisms. Yet, we find that members of compacts, closely related water agencies, and compact governments use a variety of responses, from changes in strategies to revising constitutional choice rules, in responding to conflicts. Evidence of these efforts demonstrates that compacts are not necessarily as rigid and inflexible as some argue, and that a range of options are available for increasing the capacity and competence of states to engage in interstate governance.


BIO: Edella Schlager received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University in 1990. Her dissertation focused on self-governance of coastal fisheries. Currently, she is an associate professor in the School of Public Administration and Policy at The University of Arizona. For the last ten years her research has focused on western water institutions, law, policy, and governance. For the past two years she has been engaged in a major research project on western interstate river compacts. Compacts are self-governing mechanisms designed by states to govern shared rivers. Thus, they present interesting questions of federalism and common pool resource governance. She has co-authored two books on water. One with William Blomquist and Tanya Heikkila entitled Common Waters, Diverging Streams: Linking Institutions and Water Management in Arizona, California, and Colorado, Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future (2004). The second with William Blomquist entitled Embracing the Political Watershed, Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.


Paper in PDF


Monday, September 10, 2007




Presented by Professor Roy Gardner, Department of Economics, and Affiliated Faculty, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB


Abstract: The USSR (1924-1991) was a repressive state. Recent discoveries in the Soviet archives have shown that this repression exhibited cycles. This paper proposes a simple game theoretic model of those cycles. The game exploits out-of-Nash equilibrium dynamics, as studied by Becker et al (2007). This dynamics produce occasional large cyclic events, reminiscent of the Great Terror of 1937/8. A second cycle, involving membership in the Politburo of the Communist Party USSR, is also studied.


BIO: Roy Gardner is Chancellor’s Professor of Economics and Henry H. H. Remak Professor of West European Studies at Indiana University, where he has also been a Faculty Associate at the Workshop for more than 20 years. His interest in the Soviet Union and its successor states has been fueled by his work the last decade in Ukraine, where he is currently Academic Director of the newly created Kyiv School of Economics.


There will not be a formal paper for this session. However, there is a background paper, "Repression Cycles in the USSR: Mass Operations and Dictatorial Dynamics."


Background Paper in PDF


PowerPoint in PDF


Monday, September 17, 2007




Presented by Dr. Christiaan Hogendorn, Assistant Professor of Economics, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT


Abstract: Ostrom (1990, pp. 14-15) states that "Institutions are rarely public or private - 'the market' or 'the state.' Many successful CPR institutions are rich mixtures of 'private-like' and 'public-like' institutions defying classification in a sterile dichotomy." We argue that industrial markets are best studied as embedded within commons, where the common resource is the organizational (and sometimes physical) capital required for vertical exchanges of intermediate goods to produce final output.


We start with a famous discussion of industrial organization of vertical relationships, George Stigler's 1951 article “The division of labor is limited by the extent of the market.'' We formalize and extend this model, emphasizing economies of scale in intermediate goods production as a determinant of firm boundaries and vertical control. We show that there are potential coordination failures which may prevent efficient vertical disintegration, and we discuss when these are more or less likely to be overcome.


BIO: Christiaan Hogendorn is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Wesleyan University. His research focuses on market structure and competition in deregulated infrastructure industries. His current projects study network neutrality and other types of “open systems” regulation, and vertical disintegration in several types of infrastructure industries. He was formerly a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories and a visiting scholar at the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI).


There will not be a formal paper for this session. However, there is a background paper, "Factor Groupings and Vertical Disintegration."


Background Paper in PDF


Monday, September 24, 2007 (Cancelled)




Presented by Dr. Christopher Kam, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver


Abstract: Free and fair elections are integral to representative democracy, but putting these institutions in place is not easy.  Apart from the possibility that democratic losers may resort to violence to reverse their defeats after the election, they also have incentives to bribe voters and buy elections beforehand.  Corruption of this latter sort transforms elections into venues of economic rather than political exchange, and because it is so firmly rooted in narrow self-interest, it is extremely difficult to stamp out. My newest research project investigates the operation and eventual suppression of electoral corruption in Victorian Britain. I use primary and secondary sources to reconstruct the market for votes in British and Irish elections between 1808-1906, collecting data on the prices of bribes, candidate's treating bills, colorable employment wage rates, and campaign expenses. These data raise questions as to the underlying nature of corruption, the development of modern electoral competition, and more broadly the relationship between institutions and political outcomes. 


BIO: Christopher Kam (Ph.D., Rochester 2002) is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia.  He is interested in the operation and development of democratic institutions in advanced industrial democracies.  His work on intra-party politics and cabinet reshuffles has appeared in the British Journal of Political Science and Legislative Studies Quarterly, among other journals.  Kam’s current research is historical in nature, focusing on the nature and suppression of electoral corruption in Victorian England and on the construction of federalism in pre-Confederation Canada.


There will not be a formal paper for this session. However, there is a background paper, "Four Lessons about Corruption from Victorian Britain."


Background Paper in PDF


Thursday, September 27, 2007 (Special Session)




Presented by Dr. Margaret Polski, Affiliate Research Fellow, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia


Abstract: For centuries we have debated whether good government depends upon better people or better institutions. The debate raged anew among the 18th century political economists, whose work provides a foundation for new institutional economics. Yet today when we think about organizing and governing we typically focus on discovering arrangements that produce efficient outcomes without considering the capacities of the people who are the object of our efforts. Then we attempt to select the “best” fit, create artificial enhancements or reengineer ourselves, institutions, organizations, and networks to achieve efficiency ideals. North (2005) argues that to create adaptive institutions, our minds must evolve. But what if we can’t change our minds or our institutions without changing our brains? This paper summarizes what we know about the biological basis of choice and develops implications for economic organization and governance.


BIO: Margaret Polski is a political economist with research interests in growth, innovation, and security. Her current project, which is forthcoming with Wharton School Publishing in 2008, examines developments in experimental economics, the neurosciences, and global security policy-making.


Dr. Polski has a Ph.D. from Indiana University, an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.E.S. from the University of Minnesota. She is a Research Affiliate at the Center for the Study of NeuroEconomics at George Mason University and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Strategies at the School for Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.


A practicing analyst who aims to more closely link theoretical knowledge and practical experience, Dr. Polski has over twenty five years experience developing and implementing transformation initiatives for governments and businesses. Recent projects address resiliency and regulatory authority. She has served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the German bilateral assistance agency GTZ, the Volga Regional Academy, and the World Bank, a management consultant with the Diel Group and A.T. Kearney, and held executive positions with AMERICORD, Inc., Check Technology Corporation, Santa Cruz Imports, and BMC Industries.


Publications and Working Papers


Contact Information: George Mason University, Center for the Studies of NeuroEconomics, Email:, Mobile: 646 342 6424


The paper is part of a larger project that will be published, so it will not be placed on our website. Only a hard copy of this paper will be available.


Monday, October 1, 2007




Presented by Professor Daniel Cole, R. Bruce Townsend Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law — Indianapolis, IUPUI, and Visiting Scholar, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB


Abstract: This paper reviews and critiques the regulatory structures created by the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and offers recommendations for improvements in light of the most recent scientific and social-scientific research. Specifically, the paper argues that the Kyoto Protocol’s regime for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is both too modest in its goals, which do not guarantee net reductions in global emissions, and overly ambitious in its various emissions trading schemes, which invite corruption and are likely to be extremely expensive to administer. The paper recommends that Kyoto should be simplified and refocused to require deeper reductions in just one or two GHGs from a smaller set of important sources, such as carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants. Such a change would facilitate lower-cost monitoring and enforcement, and likely reduce the total costs of climate-change mitigation. How deep should emissions reductions be? The answer depends on whether one focuses on the mean estimate of damages from the probability distribution function or on what Martin Weitzman calls the “bad fat tails,” which encompass potential climate catastrophes.


In addition, Kyoto should be supplemented by a new protocol on climate change adaptation, in accordance with the terms of the UNFCCC. Even if Kyoto’s mitigation regime were substantially strengthened and put into full operation overnight, it is clear that adaptation costs will arise. And those costs are expected to fall most heavily on the developing countries of the world, which can least afford to bear them (and which are least responsible for causing climate change in the first place). In large measure, any climate change adaptation policy is likely to be in the nature of foreign aid, which is a phrase that immediately raises red flags. This paper discusses the problems and prospects of foreign aid for dealing with the kinds of adaptation problems climate change is likely to create during the 21st century.


Neither changing the structure of Kyoto’s mitigation scheme nor supplementing Kyoto with an effective adaptation protocol will be easy. Climate change remains an enormously complex process and problem. It is almost certainly the greatest collective action problem the international community has ever confronted. Consequently, we should not be very optimistic about the prospects for a completely effective international climate change regime. But the international community should at least be able to do better than Kyoto.


BIO: Dan Cole is the R. Bruce Townsend Professor of Law at the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis, where he teaches and writes about Property, Natural Resources Law, Environmental Protection, and Law & Economics. He also writes extensively about Poland and Polish law.


Professor Cole is the author of six books and more than 30 law review articles, book chapters, and essays. His book Instituting Environmental Protection: From Red to Green in Poland (Macmillan and St. Martin’s, 1998) received the prestigious AAASS/Orbis Polish Book Prize in 1999. His more recent books include Pollution and Property: Comparing Ownership Institutions for Environmental Protection (Cambridge University Press, 2002), The End of a Natural Monopoly: Electric Utility Deregulation in the United States (JAI Press, 2003) (co-edited with Peter Z. Grossman); Principles of Law and Economics (Prentice-Hall 2004) (co-authored with Peter Z. Grossman); and Natural Resources Law (West 2006) (co-authored with Jan Laitos, Sandra Zellmer and Mary Woods).


Professor Cole is a Life Member of Clare Hall (College for Advanced Study), Cambridge, and has served as a Visiting Scholar in the Faculties of Law and Land Economy at the University of Cambridge. In the Fall of 2001, Professor Cole was the John S. Lehmann Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.


Paper in PDF


Monday, October 8, 2007 (Special Session, Series on New Commons)




Presented by Charlotte Hess, Director of Library and Information Services, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB


Abstract: "New commons" has been used as the cry of a revolutionary movement in Mexico, the second enclosure movement, smartmobs, increasing vocal neighborhood associations, online peer production, new types of markets. The rise of new commons signals alarming reactions to increasing commodification, privatization, and corporatization, untamed globalization, and unresponsive governments. It is a new way of looking at what is shared or should be shared in the world around us. It looks at who shares what, how we share it, and how we sustain commons for future generations. This new commons "movement" is charged with electrical currents beckoning citizens of the world to develop new forms of self-governance, collaboration, and collective action.


This lengthy paper is a preliminary draft of research that has been conducted over the past seven years tracking the new commons research. The foci of the paper are: (1) to present a map of this previously uncharted territory. The map situates the various new commons sectors and sub-sectors that have been identified by international authors, researchers and actors. (2) to discuss the various ways commoners, practitioners, and scholars are using and applying the concept of the new commons. Surveying the various types of new commons, it was discovered that there are different "entry points" into the commons language. An "entry point" can be thought of as a catalyst that changes one's conception of a resource as a private, government-owned resource into a commons. In other words, how did the notion that a particular resource or group was a commons arise? and (3) to attempt a viable definition of the new commons.


BIO: Charlotte Hess is Director of Library and Information Services at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and Director of IU’s Digital Library of the Commons (DLC) She has been researching and writing on knowledge commons for several years. Many of her articles and papers are available on the DLC. A co-edited book with Elinor Ostrom, Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice was published by MIT Press in 2007. In spring 2007, Hess began consulting with the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, CA, on zoonotic commons and new commons.


A copy of the paper is available upon request.


Monday, October 15, 2007 (Special Session, Series on New Commons)




Presented by Paul B. Hartzog, PhD Student and IGERT Fellow, Department of Political Science and the School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,


Abstract: The frequency and intensity of global communications is increasing, ushered in by collaborative technologies that make possible innovative forms of collective action. As a result, in many ways the structures of industrial modernity face a challenge from emerging peer-to-peer coordinated "commons" alternatives. These new commons constitute a "p2p economy" which is poised to transform "culture industries" like film, music, publishing, and others.


A recent force is "social publishing" which offers both new practices and new theoretical tools for thinking about the future of publishing. Oort-cloud, an online commons for writers, has embraced social publishing and "Open Lit" in an effort to explore this exciting terrain. An in-depth look at Oort-Cloud ( will illustrate the potential of such cooperative enterprises, and provide insight into how network culture is created.


BIO: Paul B. Hartzog ( has a B.S. in Political Science with an emphasis on Global Commons, and an M.S. in Political Science for which he wrote his seminal paper "Panarchy: Governance in the Network Age" (


Paul is currently an IGERT Fellow with the Center for the Study of Complex Systems ( at the University of Michigan ( He is pursuing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in both the School of Information as well as Political Theory, and is also working on a book manuscript about panarchy.


Paul's most recent published article is "Panarchy and the Wikification of Politics" ( in Re-Public.


Paul blogs for Many-to-Many (, as well as Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs ( and is a contributor and blogger at the Cooperation Commons

( and Michel Bauwens' Peer-to-Peer Foundation ( He has lectured on "Commons and Collective Action" at Stanford University as part of the "A New Literacy of Cooperation" ( lecture series. He has also been a guest-blogger for (


As a futurist, Paul has written for Mindjack ( and occasionally consults for The Institute for the Future ( In addition, Paul is a co-developer of Oort-Cloud (, a new kind of publishing process based on Social Publishing (


Background readings:


Social Publishing (original publication with comments):


Social Publishing (reprint well-formatted):


Open Lit (social publishing extended):


There will not be a formal paper for this session.


Monday, October 22, 2007 (Special Session, Series on New Commons)




Presented by Dr. Kathryn Milun, Fellow, Tomales Bay Institute,


Abstract: Human geography looks at key metaphors that organize our spatial thinking into regions. Metaphors associated with space can reveal values and show how one sees the world. They can also be used proactively to create alternative futures for regions, to engage the public in this task, and to influence public policy. This talk focuses on the "regional" metaphors of the global commons in modern international law. Since Grotius' work on the Law of the Seas to current legal descriptions of outer space, the internet, biodiversity, and the atmosphere, epistemic imaginaries have helped organize our conceptions of shared space on a global level.


Understanding the operational force of spatial imaginaries in our legal descriptions of commons regimes will help turn us to the task of imagining more productive, alternative "regional metaphors" for these new kinds of vast, unbounded and barely imaginable spaces opened up by new technologies, new scientific realizations, and ancient wisdoms concerning the interconnectedness of all earthly beings.


This talk takes a cultural studies approach to law by engaging several disciplines: human geography (to show how regional thinking works), literary analysis (to show how metaphors operate), and cultural anthropology (to show how nonwestern cultural models of commons space can enter into dialogue/negotiation with the statist, western models that have so long dominated international law and its descriptions of global commons regimes). The talk is based on Milun's forthcoming book The Political Uncommons: A Cross-Cultural Study of the Global Commons.


BIO: Kathryn Milun is a fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute whose focus is on activist work to reclaim the commons. Dr. Milun is a former Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rice University and of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University. Her scholarly work in the anthropology of modernity focused on the cultural and cross-cultural history of commons. The Political Uncommons (Ashgate 2007) treats the cross-cultural, geographical imaginary behind the global commons in international law; Pathologies of Modern Space (Routledge 2006) exams public space in the last 150 years of Euro-American city planning and its relation to the psychology of the public self. Dr. Milun's activist work involves reclaiming commons for green energy production.


There will not be a formal paper for this session.


Monday, October 29, 2007 (Special Session, Series on New Commons)




Presented by David Bollier, Editor, [], Senior Fellow, USC Annenberg School for Communication, The Norman Lear Center, Collaborator with television writer/producer Norman Lear, and Co-founder and board member, Public Knowledge


Abstract: David Bollier will discuss the growing recognition of the commons as a social system for generating value not just in developing countries, but in the United States and other industrialized nations. He will focus on some of the more robust "new commons" now arising, particularly on the Internet, and discuss some of their peculiar economic, political and social dynamics. Some of these examples are drawn from Bollier's book, "Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Commons Wealth" [], previously released in report form [pdf file:], which describes the enclosures of public lands, air and water resources, the airwaves, genetic information, academia and culture. As the co-founder of Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C., public-interest group dealing with the information commons, Bollier has studied the role of copyright and trademark law in enclosing the public domain of science, information culture and creative work. He will describe some of the more egregious expansions of intellectual property law and their effects on innovation, social collaboration and free expression, with examples drawn from his book "Brand Name Bullies" []. Finally, Bollier will explore some fascinating new developments affecting some new commons: the tech world's embrace of the commons as it pioneers new social networking "Web 2.0" innovations []; the rise of the iCommons movement, an international offshoot of the Creative Commons that is active in more than 70 nations; the intriguing intermingling of gift economies and markets in the management of blood, organs and other human tissue; and the importance of a "design commons" in the fashion world, the topic of a conference [] that Bollier and a colleague hosted in 2005.


BIO: David Bollier ( is an author, activist and consultant with a varied portfolio of projects, most of them involving digital technology, the commons and intellectual property. He is currently Editor of, a blog and website sponsored by the Tomales Bay Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting the commons as a new model for value-creation in economics, culture and politics. Much of Bollier’s work on the commons is an outgrowth of his 2002 book, Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth; his 2005 book, Brand-Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture/; and his co-founding of Public Knowledge, a Washington public-interest group that focuses on Interest, copyright and digital technology issues.


Bollier is currently working on a new book, Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own, which focuses on the creativity and commerce made possible by free and open source software, Creative Commons licenses and new online communities. Since 1984, Bollier has worked with television writer/producer Norman Lear on a variety of special projects and policy issues, and as Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg Center for Communication. He is the author of nine books, and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.


There will not be a formal paper for this session.


Monday, November 5, 2007




Presented by Professor Peter Richerson, Distinguished Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis


Abstract: Darwinian theory is in part an attempt to explain patterns of function and dysfunction. Humans are highly unusual in having a large number of complex adaptations, and not a few maladaptations, that are transmitted culturally rather than genetically. Many of these cultural adaptations and maladaptations concern our social life. Compared to other primates, human organizations are composed of large numbers of people, a division of labor, and considerable cooperation and coordination, all implemented by systems of institutions peculiar to each society. Even the simplest hunter-gatherer tribes are comparatively quite sophisticated in this regard. What Rob Boyd and I call the "tribal social instincts hypothesis" holds that our social adaptation arose because cultural variation was subject to group selection and to the evolution of symbolic boundaries. Primitive institutions in turn acted as social environments that selected genes that were adapted to life in tribes. This coevolutionary process was apparently complete by 50,000 years ago if not earlier. The evolution of state level societies in the last 5,000 years is based upon institutional "work-arounds" that use and finesse the tribal social instincts to build far larger and more complex social systems than our ancestral tribes. We think much plausible theory and not a little empirical evidence favors the coevolutionary account. As an applied theory of organizations and institutions, the tribal social instincts/workaround hypothesis has some interesting implications. For example, it leads us to expect time lags in institutional adaptations and for institutional design to be difficult. Evolutionary processes do heavy lifting that is difficult to replicate by ad hoc institutional engineering, but the cost is slow response to change. It points to the existence of a "moral hidden hand" that derives from the tribal social instincts. The moral hidden hand plays a large role in the function of the organizations and institutions of modern societies but the virtuous behavior it supports is often "crowded out" by dysfunctional institutions and individuals. The societies most attractive to most of us are ones with vibrant civic cultures in which organizations of a tribal scale and quasi-tribal structure play to our tribal social instincts. At the same time the main dysfunctional pattern in true tribal societies is intertribal anarchy and consequent physical insecurity. At their best, the institutions of complex societies solve this problem while allowing quasi-tribal organizations great scope for action.


BIO: Peter J. Richerson Is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California—Davis. His research focuses on the processes of cultural evolution. His 1985 book with Robert Boyd, Culture and the Evolutionary Process, applied the mathematical tools used by organic evolutionists to study a number of basic problems in human cultural evolution. His recent books with Boyd include Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, an introduction to cultural evolution aimed at a broad audience and The Origins and Evolution of Cultures, a compendium of their more important papers and book chapters. His recent publications use theoretical models to try to understand some of the main events in human evolution, such as the evolution of the advanced capacity for imitation (and hence cumulative cultural evolution) in humans, the origins of tribal and larger scale cooperation, and the origins of agriculture. He collaborates with Richard McElreath and Mark Lubell in an NSF funded research group devoted to the study of cultural transmission and cultural evolution in laboratory systems. He is interested in the application cultural evolutionary theory to the design and management of institutions and organizations.


There will not be a formal paper for this session. However, there are two background papers:


Why managers need an evolutionary theory of organizations. With Dwight Collins and Russell Genet.  Strategic Organization 4(2) 201-211. 2006.


The evolution of free enterprise values. With Robert Boyd. Submitted to Gruter Institute Project on Values and Free Enterprise.


Many of his recent technical papers with Rob Boyd as well as his other work can be found at


Thursday, November 8, 2007 (Special Session)




Presented by Beatrice Marelli, PhD in Economic Sociology, Social Sciences Department, University of Brescia, Italy, and Visiting Scholar, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB


Abstract: This paper addresses the relationship between values and institutions in water management in small-scale communities through a comparative case analysis of two farming groups in Northern Italy. The theoretical framework for this research is provided by combining the IAD Framework with classical European conceptions of values. According to Weber’s sociological tradition and Boudon’s modern analysis, social actors follow principles founded upon reasons that they hold firm.  This is the case for collective beliefs and social norms, whose content is the object of voluntary adherence by individuals. In accordance with this theoretical framework, I propose a research hypothesis using an adaptation of the “Coleman Boat” model, which combines two levels of analysis: the system of actions produced by individual actors and the resulting macro phenomenon. This allows me to link the existence of values and shared norms to the construction of institutional water management. The hypothesis has been tested by in-depth interviews in two farming communities that share the same institutions and physical attributes, but show different performance in terms of sustainable water management.  Finally, the paper reports initial results from a field visit to the first of the two communities, which underlines the importance of common understanding of shared values.


BIO: Beatrice Marelli is a Ph.D. Student in Economic Sociology at the Social Sciences Department, University of Brescia (Italy). After receiving her First Class Honour Degree in Economics, she collaborated with CeTamb (Centre for Documentation and Research on Appropriate Technologies for Environmental Management in Developing Countries), Civil Engineering Department, University of Brescia, and she was a Research Fellow in Economic Geography at the Social Science Department of the same university. Her major research interests are related to environmental management, common-pool resources, and collective action problems. Now, she is developing her thesis on the relationship between institutions and values about water management in small farmer communities in Northern Italy.


There will not be a formal paper for this session.


Monday, November 12, 2007




Presented by Gabriela de la Mora, PhD student in Political and Social Science, Department of Sociology at the Political and Social Science Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and Visiting Scholar, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB


Abstract: In this presentation, she will examine the compensation for ecosystem services for water and forest of the community of Chichila in the state of Guerrero, Mexico.


A clear definition of property rights is essential for the emergence of a market. The policy of compensation for ecosystem services tries to value natural resources and the services associated with them through market. For these kinds of schemes, the definition of the property of water and forest, as well as the services associated to these resources, become important. The linkage between both resources represents a great complexity in relation to property in the context of compensation for environmental services, because there are several actors with different interests and perceptions of those rights and diverse appropriation practices and institutions at the local level.


It is possible to address this complexity through a case study of the community of Chichila, in the state of Guerrero Mexico. Water is legally defined as national property, but some local actors think and act as though the resource was theirs. In contrast, nowadays the forest is clearly recognized de jure and de facto as common property. However, the existence of different perceptions of property related to water between regional actors aroused the opposition of a neighbor community against the environmental service schemes in Chichila.


Chichila has signed three agreements for hydrological environmental services with the municipality of the Taxco. One of these agreements does not work because the downstream neighboring community claimed a historical right to use the water. This case study shows there are overlapping social interests and perceptions about “who owns what”, and it is essential to clearly define those rights in their social and historical context.


BIO: Gabriela de la Mora is a PhD Student in the Political and Social Science Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).


She has conducted research in governmental, nongovernmental, and academic organizations. Her research focuses on governance and social institutions related to common-pool resources for forest management, and she recently started working on water issues as well.


There will not be a formal paper for this session.


Friday, November 16, 2007 (Special Session, Series on New Commons)




Presented by Dr. Burnell Fischer, Clinical Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and Affiliated Faculty, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB, and Brian Steed, PhD Candidate in Public Policy, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB


Abstract: Trees planted along streets have been identified as a desirable public resource due to the measureable ecosystem services they provide. In recent years, communities throughout the United States have sought better means to protect and promote street trees through stronger city tree ordinances, tree care manuals, greenspace plans and public outreach programs.  Despite these efforts, significant confusion remains regarding the status of street trees.  Ownership and management duties are often unidentified or misunderstood.  Ordinances designed to protect street trees as a resource are often difficult to enforce, and monitoring is scarce. In this paper, we view how the confusion regarding street trees may qualify them to be classified as a common-pool resource—subject to tragic outcomes in the absence of proper management.   We argue that sound management mechanisms are currently underdeveloped and provide recommendations for how protection could be better promoted.




Burnell “Burney” C. Fischer is a Clinical Professor at Indiana University’s (Bloomington) School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).  Professor Fischer's teaching, service, and research focus on the practice of forestry and urban forestry, particularly in the Central Hardwoods Region of the U.S. He also has interests in forest resources policy including state government management. His 15 years of experience as state forester and director of the Indiana Division of Forestry provides a basis for both biological and policy analysis of forestry practices. He served as president of the National Association of State Foresters (2003-04) and worked with Congress, federal agencies, and NGOs on national forestry issues. Previously, he served a three-year term on the 15-person National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Committee, which advised the Secretary of Agriculture. His experiences in urban and community forestry policy and practice provide a strong base for introducing urban forestry to SPEA. Professor Fischer teaches sustainable forestry and urban forest management at SPEA and provides expertise in forest resources policy at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, where he is an affiliate faculty member and co-teaches the course in International Forestry Resources and Institutions. He is an adjunct professor at Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.  For more information on Professor Fischer see:




Brian Steed is pursuing a PhD in Public Policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University in Bloomington.  Brian studies law and policy with a particular focus on governance issues surrounding natural resources.  Before attending Indiana University, he practiced public law in Southern Utah.  He graduated from the University of Utah School of Law in 2002 with the degree of Juris Doctor and a Certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law.


Paper in PDF


Monday, November 26, 2007




Presented by Liv Toril Pettersen, PhD Student, Department of Social Science, Bodø University College, and Researcher, Nordland Research Institute, Bodø, Norway, and Visiting Scholar, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB


Abstract: During a time of great structural changes in the primary industries, local coastal communities in Norway are exposed to great pressure. Globalization, new technology, resource crises, and increasing international competition in the market have created new challenges. Together with changes in international and national politics the conditions for local communities and local producers are changing. In this presentation I will highlight changes in the Norwegian aquaculture industry. The industry has developed from a traditional rural industry that consisted of several small household enterprises, to a modern industry with an increasing number of large companies. This presentation examines the restructuring of the industry in Northern Norway during the last decades, especially changes after 1990. In the beginning of the 1990s, the Norwegian aquaculture industry was marked by a crisis. Overproduction, collapse in the market and the distribution system, and fish diseases resulted in a large number of bankruptcies. In 1991, the licence regulation was liberalized, and the claim for local ownership and majority owner-interest in only one farm was revoked. This indicated a political and ideological shift. Previously, the focus was put on local control, regional development, and small-scale production. Now, commercial business development, profitability, and market adjustment are emphasized. These political, economical, and institutional changes have led to a restructuring process in the industry.


Based on a qualitative explorative study, I will give examples of how small household enterprises adapt their strategies to these changes in political, institutional, and economic conditions. Four possible strategies will be discussed. The first one, withdrawal, implies the owner(s) leave(s) the industry by selling or closing down the family firm. Another alternative is to sell the firm or amalgamate with a larger corporation, making the previous owner an employee. A third option is to keep the business as a small and autonomous firm. A fourth strategy is to grow through acquisition of other firms.


This presentation will end with some theoretical consideration about how to combine institutional theories and theories about entrepreneurship. Broadly defined, institutions are the prescriptions that humans use to organize all forms of repetitive and structured interactions at all scales (Ostrom 2005). This includes the rules that specify what may, must, or must not be done in situations that are linked together to make up a polity, a society, and economy and their interlinkages. According to Barth (1972), entrepreneurs break with institutional order and recognize new alternatives. In Northern Norway’s coastal communities, growing from a small household firm to a larger corporation is a break with the traditional organization of business.


BIO: Liv Toril Pettersen is a PhD student at Bodø University College in Norway, and an associated researcher at Nordland Research Institute. She has been working as a researcher at Nordland Research Institute since 1997. Her research interests are regional development, entrepreneurship, gender issues and household adaptations to changing institutional and economic conditions. Her PhD project is a study of how small-scale producers in primary industry are coping with great structural changes in agriculture, fishing, and fish-farming in Northern Norway. The central question is how small-scale producers adapt their strategies to changing institutional and economic conditions.


There will not be a formal paper for this session.


Monday, December 3, 2007




Presented by Gunn Elin Fedreheim, Research Fellow, Bodø University College; Researcher, Nordland Research Institute, Bodø, Norway; and Visiting Scholar, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IUB


Abstract: Up until 2003, commercial tourism was not allowed in Norwegian national parks. By removing the ban, the Government wanted to focus more on nature-based, small-scale tourism both inside and along the border areas to national parks. Activities in outfields can be conducted on the basis of the public right to access, a right that can be traced back to the Viking period, but since this right applies to everyone it also means that different users can access the same areas, which causes several disagreements and also cooperation between various user groups. With this as the background, my presentation will examine if it is possible to use the public right to access commercially, how this can be done, and what challenges arise.  


First, the public right to access is a tradition in Norway, and a tradition that included both the right of access and the right of using the resources. In 1957, the customary law about public right to access was formalized in the Outdoor Recreation Act, still providing people with several rights. For Norwegians, the public right of access is the basis for every kind of use of Norwegian outfields. Traditionally nature was used for survival purposes (transport, food, grazing), while newer use focuses more on recreation. Commercial use of national parks, then, also means that the public right of access becomes commercial under certain restrictions. The Outdoor Recreation Act in itself does not say anything about commercial or organized activities.


Second, commercial actors are not the only user groups in national parks. Also noneconomic interests are present. I will divide different users in conserved areas into four categories according to whether they are commercial or not, and whether they are in parks on organized activities or on private initiatives. This division will be used to give several examples on activities in national parks, mostly based on Norway, but also with examples from other countries.


Finally I will look at the relationship between land ownership and the public right of access. Outfields in Norway include areas owned by the state, by private people, and by an independent legal entity. Even though Norwegians have public right to access, this does not automatically mean that economic activities are legitimate in all areas. Conflicts arise, and these often imply that the understanding of, and acceptance of, the relationship between the public right to access and property rights are either misunderstood or ignored. But conflicts may arise due to other reasons; and the final part of the presentation will focus more on challenges to the public right of access in general.


BIO: Gunn Elin Fedreheim is a PhD student at the Department of Social Sciences at Bodø University College in Norway, where she is pursuing her PhD degree in Sociology. She is also a researcher with Nordland Research Institute. Her research interests include management of resources, conservation policies, questions related to sustainable management of natural resources in the Barents region, and issues related particularly to environmental cooperation between Norway and Russia. Her PhD focuses on identifying decisive institutions for economic development and other activities in Norwegian national parks. As a visiting scholar at the Workshop she has worked on developing her framework and her theoretical parts of her thesis.


There will not be a formal paper for this session.




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Last updated: December 11, 2007