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The Elements of an Action Situation

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Ostrom, Elinor
Date: 1983
Agency: Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Bloomington, Indiana
Series: Working Paper, W83-23
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/4080
Sector: Theory
Region:
Subject(s): Workshop
collective action
institutional analysis--IAD framework
Abstract: From page 1: "In my paper entitled 'A Method of Institutional Analysis,' which will appear as Chapter 23 in the book entitled Guidance, Control, and Performance Evaluation in the Public Sector, edited by Kaufmann, Majone, and V. Ostrom (forthcoming, 1984), I identified a conceptual unit ? called an 'action arena' that could be utilized to analyze, predict, and explain behavior within a wide array of different institutional arrangements. An action arena contains both a model of an action situation and a model of the actors in that situation. A model of the action situation can be characterized using seven clusters of variables ? participants, positions, outcomes, action-outcome linkages, information, the level of control that participants exercise at choice nodes, and the costs and benefits assigned to outcomes and actions. A model of the 'actor' includes assumptions about four clusters of variables: the resources that an actor brings to a situation; the valuation actors assign to states of the world and to actions; the way actors acquire, process, retain, and use information; and the processes actors use for selection of particular courses of action. Using the set of assumptions made about the situation and the actor, the analyst predicts the types of actions that will be selected by participants and how these are likely to cumulate into results."

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