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Vulnerability and Polycentric Governance Systems

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Ostrom, Elinor
Date: 1999
Series: Newsletter of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change, no. 3/2001
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3972
Sector: Social Organization
General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): polycentricity
governance and politics--theory
institutional analysis
resource management--policy
public choice
Abstract: "In an important step, IHDP has defined vulnerability as a crosscutting priority for the future activities of all its research groups. Examining the vulnerability of social-biophysical systems to external shocks is not only an important policy question in an increasingly democratic and globally linked era, but also a stimulus to the development of better explanatory theories relevant to governance more generally. Considerable progress has been achieved in the social sciences by rigorously pursuing a static analysis of relatively simple systems. Learning about the equilibrium properties of simple systems with particular characteristics has enabled social scientists to expand their capabilities to predict and explain human behaviour in unchanging environments with strong selection mechanisms. Static analysis has not, however, prepared policy analysts with the knowledge needed to design resilient governance systems in a rapidly changing, complex, and interdependent world."

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