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The Origins of Conflict in Polycentric Governance Systems

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Lubell, Mark; Mewhirter, Jack; Berardo, Ramiro; Scholz, John
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 6
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 19-21, 2019
Date: 2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/10458
Sector: Social Organization
Region:
Subject(s): polycentricity
conflict
Abstract: "Natural resources are governed by polycentric systems, which can be theorized as an 'ecology of games' where policy actors participate in multiple policy institutions governing interdependent issues. This article analyzes why actors perceive different payoffs across the games in which they participate, ranging from mutually beneficial games of cooperation to conflictual, zero-sum games where one actors’ gain means another actor’s loss. Hypotheses are developed at the level of the individual, the forum, and the overall polycentric system. The hypotheses are tested through surveys of water governance actors in three different research sites: Tampa Bay, Florida; the Parana River delta, Argentina; the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, California. The empirical findings suggest that policy forums will have more conflict when the actors within them are concerned with hot-button issues, when the forums have large and diverse memberships, and in systems with a long history of conflict."

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