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Perceived Threats to Common-pool Resources: A Trigger for Actors’ Engagement in Cooperation?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Herzog, Laura M.; Ingold, Karin
Conference: Practicing the Commons: Self-Governance, Cooperation and Institutional Change
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Conf. Date: 10-14 July
Date: 2017
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10370
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Subject(s): common pool resources
water quality
Abstract: "This paper focuses on cooperation among organizations in a common-pool resource (CPR) situation. Cooperation is particularly challenged in settings where resource degradation is produced by a variety of different sectors and parts of the population, and where the problem as well as public responsibilities transcend borders and jurisdictions. Focusing on transboundary water quality management in the Rhine River basin, we ask: How can cooperation among actors in a CPR problem situation be established? And what drives two actors to cooperate with each other? We argue that the degree of threat to a CPR is an important driver for collective action and focus on actors’ exposure to and their perception of a threat to a CPR. Furthermore, we rely on applications of the ecology of games framework, taking the larger institutional context of CPR management into account. This allows us to test whether the participation in regional and international waterbody associations also enhances interaction among actors. Based on survey data and applying advanced network statistics (Exponential Random Graph Models, ERGM) we come to the conclusion that joint participation in a water body association as well as strong problem exposure enhance cooperation among actors. Problem perception is a more delicate factor which hints at having effects on cooperation depending on its intensity and interpretation by actors. Our study thus contributes to research on cooperation in CPR problem settings and further highlights the necessity to include more systematically the effects CPR problems have on actors when analyzing CPR problem settings."

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