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Reduncancy and Diversity in Governing and Managing Common-Pool Resources

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Low, Bobbi S.; Ostrom, Elinor; Simon, Carl P.; Wilson, James
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1725
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources--theory
policy analysis
institutional analysis
cost benefit analysis
Abstract: "In many fields, policymakers seem to have an increasing preference for simple, large, non- redundant systems of analysis and governance. To address this question, we examine several arenas in which scholars have studied the costs and benefits of different levels of redundancy, including: ecological resiliency, computer design, aircraft design, genetics and genetic algorithms, condercet jury theory, and regulatory regimes. Both empirical data and models suggest that a simple prescription is, at best, premature--bigger and less redundant may not always be 'better.' We find that several kinds of costs and benefits must be considered, and they do not co- vary uniformly with size and redundancy. We suggest that a better approach is to ask: For any system, what is the optimal level of redundancy?"

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