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A Multi-Method Approach to Study Robustness of Social-Ecological Systems: The Case of Small-Scale Irrigation Systems

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Janssen, Marco A.; Anderies, John M.
Date: 2013
Agency: Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Series: CSID Working Paper Series, no. CSID-2013-001
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8707
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Subject(s): Ostrom, Elinor
institutional analysis
Abstract: "Elinor Ostrom was a leader in using multiple methods to perform institutional analysis. In this paper we discuss how a multi-method approach she pioneered may be used to study the robustness of social-ecological systems. We synthesize lessons learned from a series of studies on small-scale irrigation systems in which we use comparative case study analysis, experimental methods in lab and field settings, and mathematical models. The accumulated insights show the importance of creating institutional arrangements that t the human ecology within the biophysical constraints of the system. Critical for success is the ability to maintain trust relationships, low levels of inequality and low transaction costs of coordination. Those systems that can leverage biophysical characteristics to help address challenges of monitoring, sanctioning, and coordination have an even higher chance of success."

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