Festschrift for Elinor Ostrom

Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis

Indiana University, Bloomington

November 22-23, 2005






The Ties That Bind: Terrorist Groups in the Middle East and South Asia

David Goetze, Shannon Peterson, Dustin Crawford, Breogan Ouvina, and Eric Sorensen


Abstract: This research examines four terrorist or terrorist-founding organizations: the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Al Qaeda, and the Tamil Tigers. We seek to better discriminate among all terrorist groups by examining the world views, goals, strategies, and tactics embedded in the narratives of terrorist or terrorist founding organizations. From our analysis it appears that all of the groups use narratives as vehicles for the promotion and maintenance of communal ties and identity, the identification of enemies and the justification of group goals and tactics. Moreover, while all four groups have goals that are clearly tied to the liberation and or “purification” of perceived homelands, different characterizations of the problems have led to clear differences in strategies. In short, it is clear from the analysis that all terrorist organizations are not alike. Subsequently, “one-size-fits-all” policies for dealing with such organizations are likely to prove unproductive.



A Fuzzy Future? Fuzzy Logic Potential for Institutional Analysis

Sue E. S. Crawford


Abstract: In Understanding Institutional Diversity, Elinor Ostrom challenges us to recognize the configurational and complex nature of interactions between institutions and their social and environmental contexts in institutional analysis. Fuzzy logic appears intuitively to be a useful tool for complex and configurational analysis, particularly when that analysis is geared toward diagnostics. This paper explores the possible use of fuzzy logic methods for institutional analysis based on the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IAD) and the grammar of institutions. It discusses potential use of fuzzy logic tools for static analysis and for analysis of institutional change. The static analysis section focuses primarily on tasks associated with coding cases and analysis of coded cases, with particular emphasis on uses for common pool resource case analysis. The section on analysis of change proposes ways in which fuzzy logic may help to unpack the feedback and learning components of the IAD framework. This section focuses in particular on fuzzy logic tools to model the learning advantages of farmer managed irrigation systems as compared to government managed systems.



Anger, Fairness and What’s in the Brain

Rick K. Wilson


Abstract: Models of human strategic behavior overlook the importance of emotion for off the equilibrium path behavior. The research reported here uses a simple ultimatum game in a laboratory setting and focuses on patterns of rejections by subjects in different affective states. Subjects' affect is manipulated using photographed images. Subjects then use the strategy method to decide the size of offer they are willing to accept. Results show that affect is important for strategic behavior and that systematic differences arise in what subjects will accept. These results are important for our understanding of behavioral game theory.



Police Racial Profiling in Two American Cities: Some Evidence on Stops and Searches

Roger B. Parks and Stephen D. Mastrofski


Abstract: We test derivations from models of statistical discrimination and preferential discrimination with observational data on police-suspect interactions in two American cities. In neither city do we find evidence of preferential discrimination against African American suspects. In both cities, using a preferential model of searches following suspect stops, we find evidence of preference extended to white suspects by African American police officers. We offer reasons why we did not find the frequently alleged pattern of racial profiling, and speculate on our otherwise unreported finding for white suspects.



Wilson v. Layne and the Rule of "The Home as a Castle": The Demise of the Observational Study of Police?

John McIver


Abstract: In 1999, the US Supreme Court decided Wilson v Layne (and a companion case) ruling that media representatives could not participate in the execution of a search warrant in a private dwelling. Unasked at the time of their decision was what implication this ruling might have for the academic study of policing. This paper first speculates on the impact of the case and considers its potential repercussions for observational research projects such as the Police Services Study conducted by the Workshop during the mid 1970's. It then reports on current police practices with respect to civilian ride-along programs based on a recently conducted mail survey of police agencies serving suburban and urban communities. Some will see the results as a glass half-empty, others will see it half-full. Observation of police behavior is restricted following Wilson but not curtailed completely.



Beneath the Surface: Shared Attributes of Fisheries and Aquifers, and Implications for Institutional Design

Edella Schlager and William Blomquist


Abstract: In 1994, along with S. Y. Tang, we published a paper in Land Economics entitled "Mobile Flows, Storage, and Self-Organized Institutions for Governing Common-Pool Resources". Although the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework highlighted the importance of "attributes of the good", to that time, little attention had been devoted to identifying key physical features of common pool resources (CPRs) and specifying the effects of those features on the transaction and opportunity costs of appropriators attempting to craft governance structures.


Through our extensive research on coastal fisheries, groundwater basins, and irrigation systems, the three of us recognized that CPRs are not alike. They differed in key physical attributes that appeared to affect both the ability of appropriators to design institutional arrangements as well as the structure of those institutions. We argued that "the degree of mobility of the flow units and the presence of storage affect the types of institutional arrangements resource users adopt" (Schlager, Blomquist, and Tang 1994:295). Coastal fisheries, characterized by highly mobile flows and the absence of storage, mean that fishers have limited information and little control over resource flows. Consequently, fishers tend to design rules that addressed common pool resource dilemmas not related to flows, such as technological externalities. In contrast, groundwater basins, characterized by stationary flow units and the presence of storage, opened up a different set of institutional strategies for groundwater pumpers. In general, groundwater pumpers can develop more accurate information about flows units, because they are relatively stationary, and they have greater control over them, because of storage. Information and control allow groundwater pumpers to more readily address a whole range of common pool resource dilemmas (Schlager, Blomquist, and Tang 1994:300-301). 


Of course, the availability of storage and the stationarity of flows are not the only physical characteristics that characterize a natural resource, nor are they the only ones that may matter in the design and performance of resource management institutions. In the 1994 Land Economics article we also recognized that other physical characteristics, such as the visibility of the resource, likely affected the kinds of institutional arrangements that contribute to tragedy or to success in governing the commons. Resources such as fisheries and aquifers, which differ in important ways with respect to storage and stationarity, may be similar with respect to other characteristics that also affect institutional design and performance. This paper therefore builds on and extends the insights of the 1994 article by considering aquifers and fisheries as examples of common pool resources that are characterized by invisibility and complexity.


By invisibility we mean that the stocks and flows of the resource are not visible to appropriators. The boundaries, structure, and dynamics of the resource only become "visible" (or at least better known) through highly technical modeling engaged in by experts. The models themselves, however, suffer from uncertainty because of the complexity of the resource. By complexity we mean that key structures and features of a common pool resource are organized at different spatial and temporal scales; the relations among the structures are non-linear and discontinuous, and scientific uncertainty may be substantial.


In this paper we focus on groundwater basins and ocean fisheries. Fishers and groundwater pumpers both must grapple with attempting to govern complex common pool resources that are largely invisible to them. While groundwater pumpers have the advantage of storage and relatively stationary flows, their ability to take advantage of those features and use groundwater sustainably requires that they develop a common and accepted understanding of the structure and dynamics of the basin, and the effects of their pumping on one another and the basin, not necessarily a straightforward proposition. Fishers, as implied by the 1994 article, remain in a relatively difficult and certainly challenging situation. Not only are they attempting to govern highly mobile flows without the benefit of storage, but they are doing so in a very difficult environment.


In the following section we focus on the "physical facts of life" for groundwater pumpers and fishers. We then turn to examining how the physical facts of life would interact with a relatively sparse institutional environment to create particularly difficult common pool resource dilemmas, especially when a race to capture the commons emerges.


Next we examine institutional arrangements that are likely to promote learning and adaptability, both keys to sustainably governing invisible and complex resources. Throughout the paper, we use Ostrom's (2005) rule types to explore the "common genes" of institutional arrangements leading to tragedy, and of institutional arrangements leading to success.



Trust and Collective Action: Concepts and Causalities

T. K. Ahn

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to establish a set of definitions and causalities for the study of trust and collective action based on the concept of trustworthiness as a person's values and internalized norms. Understanding trustworthiness as an attribute of a person's preference, not the cooperative behavior per se, is the first logical step to separate the roles of material incentives and internal values in social cooperation. Trustworthiness and trust are critical because social and institutional alone are often not enough. This paper proposes that we do not use the term trust when incentives alone can breed cooperation



Fieldwork, Science, and Ethics

Arun Agrawal


Abstract: Professor Elinor Ostrom's research on the social dilemmas that all groups of humans must solve through institutional means so as to be able to live together has found particular application in the use and governance of renewable natural resources. Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to say that although her research initially focused on such dilemmas in the United States, it is in her work on such problems in developing countries that her insights have found the most acute expression. In striving for a constant dialog between theoretical rigor and empirical verification, her work and achievements demonstrate the need for all policy-relevant research to strive for the highest standards of data collection and verification of hypothesized causes. Fallible humans must constantly experiment to arrive at closer approximations to truth, but their experiments must contend with the possibility of harm to those undergoing experiments.


This basic truism raises important scientific and ethical questions for those interested in experimental research strategies as a means to advance knowledge and problem solving capacities. In this paper, I combine the ways in which Professor Ostrom's work exemplifies the need for revision of theoretical understanding in light of new data, with the writings of Donald Campbell on the experimenting society, to develop an argument about the relevance of fieldwork to social-scientific advances and ethically appropriate policy advice.



Designing Effective Intervention for Irrigation Management: Cases from the Indrawati Watershed in Nepal

Wai Fung Lam, Elinor Ostrom, Ganesh Shivakoti, and Robert Yoder


Abstract: Prior research and assistance experiences have suggested that technological fixes alone are not likely to improve irrigation performance. An intervention project stands a chance of success only if it could help develop robust local institutions to support the operation and maintenance of engineering infrastructure, and enhance social capital that has already existed in the local community. While the principle for designing successful intervention project seems to be straightforward, turning the principle into the design of intervention projects is not as simple as some might expect. In particular, how to keep the intervention effect last and sustained in the long run poses a significant challenge.


In 1985, the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) of Nepal and the International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI) initiated an intervention project to assist 19 farmer-managed irrigation systems located in the Indrawati watershed in Nepal. The project was designed with a view to developing and testing methods for delivering assistance that could enhance farmers’ organizing ability for irrigation operation and maintenance at the same time as the irrigation infrastructure was improved. The project was innovative in a variety of ways: (1) the farmers could choose whether to be involved or not, (2) the project provided technical assistance but purposely did not provide full funding for engineering improvements and the farmers were expected to provide core labor and some materials, (3) the farmers examined the engineering plans and had to OK them before they were implemented, (4) participating farmers were expected to go through “farmer-to-farmer” training offered by some of the more productive irrigation systems in Nepal, and (5) each farmer group was expected to write its own internal set of working rules that covered how future decisions would be made for the system.  


The intervention was evaluated as being very successful soon after completion. In this paper, we will draw on several rounds of measurement for the systems involved in the project as so to assess and understand how the intervention has affected the operation and performance of the systems in a decade and a half after completion. By comparing the systems’ experiences of irrigation management, we will identify factors that help explain why there are differences in the long-term effects of this project, and discuss the implications of the experience for the design of intervention projects.



Philanthropic Strategies in Place-Based, Collaborative Land Conservation: The Packard Foundation’s Conserving California Landscape Initiative

Francisco Delfin, Jr. and Shui-Yan Tang


Abstract: The Packard Foundation’s Conserving California Landscape Initiative (CCLI), a $175 million 5-year (1998-2003) program intended to conserve 250,000 acres of open space in three regions in California, exemplifies the potential contribution and pitfalls of a private foundation’s engagement in contemporary place-based, collaborative conservation. The achievements and limitations of this philanthropic effort are revealed largely through interviews of program officers, grantees, and public officials. Focusing conservation in three regions of the state, employing deliberate grant leveraging, promoting conservation partnerships, approaching conservation on multiple fronts, and building nonprofit capacities, CCLI preserved more than 300,000 acres of land, generated around $700 million in matching funds, raised the profile of conservation in the state and local communities’ agenda, and fostered collaboration among diverse publics. However positive, CCLI efforts inevitably raised broader governance issues – transparency and accountability, agenda setting and representation, donor power and grantees’ autonomy – related to the enlarged role of private money in public conservation.



To Have a Say and a Saw: Is Decentralization Good for the Forest?

Krister P. Andersson and Clark C Gibson


Abstract: Decentralization outcomes vary with the limitations of the local government mandate, its compatibility with the central government’s macroeconomic policies, and the performance of local institutions. We suggest that the way decentralization affects conservation efforts depends on how local institutions mediate the influence of structural drivers of environmental change. We test the mediation hypothesis by comparing the decentralized forestry-sector performance in 30 municipalities in the Bolivian lowlands. Relying on interviews and satellite images of forest cover change, we find that the local institutional performance affects illegal deforestation, but not total deforestation.