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'Hybrid Institutions': Applications of Common Property Theory Beyond Discrete Tenure Regimes

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: German, Laura; Keeler, A.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/988
Sector: Theory
General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): common pool resources--theory
property rights
land tenure and use
Abstract: "Property rights theory has contributed a great deal to global understanding of the factors shaping the management, governance and sustainability of discrete property regimes (individual, State, commons). Yet as the commons become increasingly altered and enclosed, and management challenges extend beyond the boundaries of any given property / territory, institutional theory must extend beyond discrete property regimes. This paper argues that even within conventional natural resource management domains, crucial elements of the commons literature provide powerful explanatory frameworks for theory and practice outside the realm of pure common property resources. Building on common property resource and externality theories in general, and the Ostrom and Coasean traditions in particular, we pose an alternative use of the term 'Hybrid Institution' to explore the governance of common or connected interests which cut across property regimes. Following a general introduction to a set of propositions for encompassing this expanded realm of analysis and application, we use the literature on integrated natural resource management to frame the scope of 'commons' issues facing rural communities today. Empirical and action research from eastern Africa and logical arguments are each used to illustrate and sharpen the focus of our propositions so that they can be rigorously tested in future research. This analysis demonstrates the instrumental potential of the concept of Hybrid Institutions as a framework for shaping more productive engagements with seemingly intractable natural resource management challenges at farm and landscape scale. Our analysis suggests that central elements of the Ostrom and Coasean traditions can be complementary explanatory lenses for contemporary resource conflict and management."

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