Sub-theme 11. Advances in Frameworks and Theory
Long-term evolution and institutional change in sustainable polycentric governance: connecting theory and normative conditions with empirical analysis
Scholarship on polycentric governance has developed dynamically in recent years. The theorized core virtues of polycentric governance, such as resilience and adaptiveness, highlight its features in dynamic contexts. For example, polycentric governance is held to be adaptive because while it changes its form, it maintains its function. But few empirical studies examine institutional change over time in polycentric systems. This observation begs several crucial questions concerning the underlying determinants of sustainable polycentric governance: under what constitutional and social-ecological conditions does polycentric governance adapt well and prove resilient? What drives polycentric governance to change its form? Further, what feedbacks signal the need to adapt in polycentric governance and how do they function? To what extent is adaptation and change of governance the outcome of deliberate bottom-up or top down agency, or is change an emergent property of polycentric governance? What may be early warning signs that polycentric governance does not prove resilient and adaptive in the long term? What role do legitimacy and modes of contesting existing orders and the political economy of governance play? In this panel, we invite submissions that address these questions. Further, researchers ideally discuss several methodological challenges and constraints of such long-term studies and ways to overcome them. In order to contribute to coherence, organizers will circulate materials in advance that frames research on sustainable polycentric governance. The panel invites contributions to above-named questions by authors willing to engage into the kind of cross-cutting discussion outlined here.
Panel 11.2. A
1. Understanding changes in institutions leading to cooperation between actors within a polycentric water governance arrangement: cases from Bengaluru, India
1Azim Premji University, India, 2University of Kassel, Germany
This paper describes the changing institutional arrangements, by analysing and comparing drivers of cooperation between actors in a polycentric governance arrangement for conserving waterbodies for a period 1960-2018. The cases are selected to represent a spatial (rural–urban) gradient in Bengaluru, which is severely impacted by urban expansion and land-use change. Applying the analytical framework highlighting the static and dynamic conception of institutional change in eco-institutional setting developed by Thiel 2014, the paper tries to understand how institutions and governance in the eco-institutional setting change and why this is the case. We follow the broad ideas of Knight’s distributional theory when we conceptualize why and how institutions in the eco-institutional setting change. We develop and illustrate a heuristic of factors that change distributional outcomes and bargaining power whose change drives institutional change from the perspective of the distributional theory of institutional change. Applying this heuristic to the cases of waterbody management in Bengaluru, we identify that, changes in the eco-institutional setting are contextual and highly dependent on socio-economic, socio-ecological, mental models and governance technologies, thus affecting the distributional outcomes and bargaining power of actors leading to negotiations of institutions. Further, we highlight that with urbanization, there is a change in both valuation of the resource and the process of negotiation among actors leading to negotiation of new equilibrium.
2. How will community-based resource management stand megatrends and address local processes? A systems thinking and dynamics approach applied to Italian Alpine commons.
1University of Padova, Italy, 2University of Trento, Italy, 3Eurac Research, Italy
Because of the megatrend of tertiarization and consequent more off-farm activities, most people in European Alps do not live anymore on self-sufficiency, extracting resource units from the ecological system for self-sustainment. Resources such as forests, pastures, traditionally managed in commons systems, become increasingly important for the natural and cultural ecosystems they provide and as renewable energy sources, and thus become interesting beyond the community that owns collective property rights over them. The increasing scale of the resource dependency determines the creation of a common pool situation not anymore within the commoners, but among scales and land uses. It is becoming a commons in a multilevel world, which has been well studied as a complex and polycentric systems problem. Thus, a new balance must be found between local sustainment and ecosystem services provision as a public good. In the framework of a multilevel, polycentric governance constellation, forms of community-based resource management are important for stewarding at local scale the resource in a sustainable way, especially when the resource is prone to abandonment or to over-exploitation. The study follows Ostrom´s principle that norms should change as context conditions change, and thus institutional change in a commons should happen in response to changing conditions in the community. Although considering that community-based resource management is composed of social and ecological elements, the article focuses on the social element. Using a systems thinking approach and dynamic modelling, the article addresses the objective of exploring which institutional changes and policies are more appropriate to guarantee the continuation of the community stewarding the collective resource.
3. Bridging the gaps of the IAD framework in the study of institutional change with the use of process tracing: the case of fisheries and Marine Protected Areas in Senegal.
Leibniz ZMT, Germany
The multidimensional nature of fisheries and conservation requires studies that not only address the symptoms of issues but the structural causes of these outcomes. It is necessary to pay closer attention to institutions’ dynamics and organization as they respectively constitute the rule and players of the game in which interactions lead to outcomes. This research uses the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IADF) in the analysis of institutional changes in the context of a multi-player environment to explore and document the evolution of the governance structure. The growing institutional analysis literature using the IAD framework has been little connected to the context and history of the issues studied. This research seeks to address this gap using its improved version, the Politicized Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (PIADF), and the application of process tracing to explain the institutional mechanisms and processes behind changes. The case of fisheries and MPA (Marine Protected Area) governance in Senegal is used as a lens through which the analysis is framed because of the plurality of actors and overlapping institutions involved. The aim is to understand how the relationship between fisheries and conservation has changed. The main research questions are: how did fisheries and conservation relationships change over time? What have been the drivers? And to what extent have institutional factors affecting the complex adaptive system of fisheries and MPAs? In Senegal. The process tracing method is used to capture the sequences of events for each case that connect the subsequent drivers of the changes in fisheries and conservation institutions to the outcomes on artisanal fishing before comparing them.
4. Political-institutional conditions for coordination in polycentric systems: Water Energy Food Nexus governance in four country contexts
German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), Germany
Political institutional conditions are crucial for peaceful contestation and negotiation of goals and interests of different actors within the water, energy, and food (WEF) nexus. In this study, we pursue the question: how do political-institutions, namely regime type and state capacity influence coordination in polycentric governance of WEF interlinkages? Applying the IAD framework and the concept of Network of Action Situations, we analyse the governance of interlinkages in four river basins in different political regime and state capacity contexts: the Lower Awash Basin (Ethiopia), the Rio Cuautla Basin (Mexico), the Azraq basin (Jordan) and the Shire Basin (Malawi).
The results indicate that higher levels of democracy strengthen civil society’s ability to shape the development, use, and management of natural resources. However in democratic and autocratic contexts alike, policy instruments aimed at integrating social and environmental aspects into economic development suffer from a lack of transparency and inclusiveness. In contexts with weak state capacities, the effective implementation of these policy instruments is further hampered by severe deficits of human and financial capacities. In both democratic and autocratic contexts, formal institutions were found to be undermined by co-existing informal institutions– although in different ways. In Jordan’s autocratic regime, for example, strong nepotistic ties between farmers and the royal family render instruments to control the overuse of groundwater ineffective. For another example, Mexico democratically elected governments have long been partly captured by the interests of a powerful industrial lobby that has been able to negotiate and maintain large water concessions.
5. How do you govern a “common bad”? Institutional analysis and the evolution of invasive species governance
University of Arizona, USA
Across the globe, invasive species pose a serious threat to many social-ecological systems. Since at least the 1990s, invasive species have been recognized as a problem by conservationists, and considerable research has gone into identifying the causes, consequences, and mitigations options available to manage biological invasions. Social scientists, however, have only recently begun to examine invasive species as a policy problem and identify appropriate solutions. A small but growing literature conceives of invasive species as a “commons problem” – one that is likely to benefit from community-based governance that aligns with Ostrom’s Design Principles. This paper presents a framework for understanding biological invasions not as a simple and stable “commons problem,” but instead as a commons problem that evolves over time as the biological invader is introduced, spreads, and becomes established in its new ecosystem. Empirically, the theoretical framework is based on a longitudinal case study of efforts to address an invasive grass in the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona. Drawing on interviews and archived documents, this paper traces the development and evolution of efforts to address this biological invasion, using the case as a basis to identify a generalizable set of “governance tasks” for invasive species, including identification of the problem, development and dissemination of mitigation techniques, and monitoring of the invaders’ spread. Drawing on this set of “tasks,” the paper explores the way that invasive species governance has evolved over time to address invasive grasses in the Sonoran Desert.
Panel 11.2. B
1. Critical research areas in polycentric climate governance – Insights of a systematic literature review
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, USA
In recent years, climate governance takes place at multiple levels across the globe. Scholars use increasingly a polycentric perspective to study the complex and multi-jurisdictional reality of climate governance. The polycentric perspective helps to understand the structure of multiple, overlapping decision-making units, the processes within and between the units, and the performance of polycentric governance systems. However, it remains unclear what we can learn about climate governance using the polycentric perspective. How has this literature developed over time? What are the empirical contexts, conceptual approaches, and recurring methods? What are the areas where additional empirical research is particularly critical for further cumulation of knowledge? This study presents insights from a systematic literature review of relevant empirical studies on polycentric climate governance. The results show that most articles study polycentric climate governance on a national scale, in the United States or Europe, use a single case study for the research design, and use documents and interviews as data sources. Scholars study mainly the impact of contextual factors and governance processes to explain the performance of the climate governance system. For further cumulation of knowledge, additional empirical research is particularly critical regarding the impact of the structure of multiple, overlapping decision-making units on the performance of the climate governance system.
2. Limited impact from conditional payments for democracy on local leaders in rural Namibia
University of Innsbruck, Austria
Democracy is a social norm related what is perceived to be procedurally just and is thus an injunctive social norm on of how group decisions should be made. Several attempts have been made to spread democratic social norms in parts of the world where it was historically not prevalent, with different degrees of success. One popular mechanism is the use of conditional monetary incentives to democratization. We provide first causal evidence on the capacity of monetary incentives to encourage real life local leaders to adopt (or only pretend to adopt) democratic decision-making procedures. We report results from a lab-in-the-field experiment conducted with 64 local leaders – both traditional and democratic – governing shared land or water resources in rural Namibia. Conditional payments are introduced in an environment where leaders can select rules for distributing an allocation between them and constituents in their villages (N=384). Leaders can choose among three alternative rules on how to allocate these resources: (i) democratic (majority vote, without full control over the allocation by the leader); (ii) pseudo-democratic (appearing democratic by allowing for a vote, but with full control over the allocation by the leader); and (iii) autocratic (with full control over the allocation by the leader). Leaders make rule choices over three rounds, where we randomly introduce a small or large conditional payment for allowing for a vote, which may include the pseudo-democratic rule. The results show that the majority of leaders (64%) embrace democratic decision-making without payments. With conditional payments, there is a significant decrease in leaders opting from the autocratic rule, however, most of them switch to a pseudo-democratic rule.
3. A Morphogenetic Approach to Elinor Ostrom’s IAD Framework
University of Kassel, Germany
There is much to gain when combining the works of Margaret Archer and Elinor Ostrom in their resonances and take both amplitudes in synergy, to inform policy processes in general and improve water governance in particular. Archer’s morphogenetic approach to structure and agency allows the components of Ostrom’s framework of Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) to play within the dynamic contours of stratified structural and institutional relations, rather than they perform in a single, conflated ontological terrain of social interactions. Elinor Ostrom does account for the complex and hierarchical nature of the social-and-biophysical worlds in her framework-theory-model approach to policy research and innovation. However, in its operation, the IAD Framework gives more emphasis on actual social interactions, or the so-called ‘action situations,’ and this is in congruence with the following problem. The IADF components of the so-called exogenous and endogenous structures are presented without an account of any temporal dimension. Consequently, in its use, the IADF shows rather static and mechanistic flows of individual actions (human and non-human) that might affect particular eventual outcomes, while the components and processes that are exogenous to the analyzed action situations remain unexplained: their ways of coming into being (their origins) and/or their transformations, as well as their emergent impacts on the possibility changing action arenas. It is argued that, the incorporation of Margaret Archer’s morphogenetic approach with its advocacy of time, or more precisely the different temporal dimensions attached to different structures and agencies, will make the contours of individual actions and action situations more visible. We ask: in what ways a refined interpretation of the Ostrom IAD Framework, informed by the critical realist morphogenetic approach to structure and agency, can guide our analysis for understanding community institutional dynamics and the possibilities of self-governance (their limits and promises beyond the state and the market), in transforming the current ill-performing urban water governance?
4. Participatory Governance as Institutional Innovation for Diffusion of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Technological Innovations in Bangladesh
International Agricultural Policy and Environmental Governance , University of Kassel, Germany
Agriculture in Bangladesh faces the most profound challenges due to climate change. Both institutional and technological innovations demand the key responses for overcoming climate challenges. Although there are policy and scholarly interests in accelerating the technological innovations, but literatures related to institutional innovation is very limited. The study aims to fulfill this research and knowledge gap. One of the institutional innovations is the Common Interest Group (CIG). Within innovation diffusion system, rules govern action situation at multiple and nested hierarchical levels. As Elinor Ostrom’s concept about different levels of social choice (rules) affecting action situations, so rules directly shape the outcomes of actions at operational level of decision making. This study focuses on process and outcome features of the participatory governance as well as to present the effects of different institutional structures in bottom up manner. We combine the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) and Network of (adjacent) Action Situation (NAS) frameworks as coherent approach for analyzing what role do institutional structures, other endogenous and exogenous factors play? We compare four Common Interest Groups (CIGs) with similar participatory design and interventions. The findings revealed different degree in the rules-in-use among four cases. Besides these institutions, climate uncertainty and community attributes play important role for choice and diffusion of technologies. Among governance qualities, legitimacy and effectiveness were medium to high for all cases, while transparency, accountability and equity were low for two cases. This study suggests generating and disseminating context based technologies by overcoming institutional shortcomings.