Re-Visiting the Commons: The Framework of 'Institutional Regimes for Natural Resources'

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2006

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"European national resource management has a long tradition of very specified national, regional and local public policies which must be taken into account in a more consequent way than this is done by the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis of Elinor Ostrom at the Indiana University in Bloomington. Therefore, several Swiss and European Scholars developed a partly new approach to the analysis of sustainable uses of natural resources called 'Institutional Regimes for Natural Resources' Up to now, they applied it to soils, forests, wild life, water (in an European comparative context: Euwareness) and landscape. Other applications are actually developed in the field of the national memory (cf. proposal of Knoepfel/Olgiati) and built housing stocks. All these project have been financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and (for Euwareness) by the European Union. "This new framework combines extremely helpful elements of institutional economy with analytical tools of public policy analysis necessary to integrate this European public policy tradition into the way of defining, limiting and attributing to individual actors property and use rights on specific goods and services produced by common pool (natural) resources. It comes up with different types of regimes capable or not to collectively solve rivalry problems and preserve the resources' stock against overexploitation. This new lecture of institutional rules both stemming in private and public law uses two central analytical dimensions distinguishing such regimes according to their contribution to (un) sustainable development which are their extent (number of goods and services regulated in a given time and space) and their coherence (more or less compulsory mechanisms articulating policy instruments with property rights for solving rivalries amongst different uses and use rights as well as for preserving the reproduction capacity of the stock limiting global yields in a given time and space). "The paper will present this new approach and give insights into its empirical application in the field of the mentioned resources. It also draw practical applications developed for the Swiss government in order to introduce actual policy changes into the field of classical environmental policies. These applications show that the concept enables a new lecture of several new tools (e.g. global quota, individual quota, certificates, etc.) actually discussed in a more or less casual way often lacking adequate resource oriented conceptualizations."

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IASC, resource management, regimes, environmental policy--history, institutional analysis--frameworks, institutional analysis--IAD framework, Ostrom, Elinor

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