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Changing the Commons: Understanding Institutional Change in Seven Pre-Industrial Communities, Nothern Spain, 14th-19th Centuries

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Almodóvar, Vicente Cendrero; Pemán, Miguel Laborda; Berasain, José Miguel Lana
Conference: Commons Amidst Complexity and Change, the Fifteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Conf. Date: May 25-29
Date: 2015
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9829
Sector: History
Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): institutional change
Abstract: "In this paper we bring together Elinor Ostrom’s stress on the ‘grammar of institutons’ and Avner Greif and other’s historical approach to the study of institutions in order to analyze patterns of institutional change in a set of seven pre-industrial communities in northern Spain between the 14th and the 19th centuries. Our focus lies in the process of institutional change within a collective action setting. For much of the pre-industrial era, rural communities in Spain preserved important self-governance features, with village councils and neighbors assemblies in charge of coordinating and regulating interdependences among individuals in every realm of their economic and social life – not the least in the collective exploitation of pastures and forests. By collecting and codifying the regulations these communities produced over the centuries, we have built a large dataset that allows a systematic comparison across them and over time. A preliminary analysis of the patterns of institutional change as reflected in the regulations is presented here."

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