How Institutions Shape Trust during Collective Action: A Case Study of Forest Governance on Haida Gwaii


"Trust between actors involved in collective action can lower transaction costs, create incentives to invest in collective activities and help actors to achieve joint gains. While existing theoretical frameworks note the importance of institutions for motivating trust and the trust literature identifies characteristics of institutions that motivate trust, empirical research regarding natural resource governance is needed to inform development of institutions for this type of collective action situation. This paper builds on an existing theoretical framework linking institutions, trust and collective action by exploring the characteristics of institutions that motivate trust. Empirical grounding was provided in the form of a case study of collaborative forest governance on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago located off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Conflict between the Council of the Haida Nation and the Province of British Columbia regarding widespread industrial logging led the two parties to establish two structures to collaboratively govern forests and lands on Haida Gwaii: the Haida Gwaii Management Council and the Solutions Table. Interviews with past and present members of the Haida Gwaii Management Council and the Solutions Table were used to identify three forms of formal rules and one form of informal rules as well as fourteen associated characteristics that motivated trust. Cluster analysis reduced the fourteen characteristics to four clusters: alignment of interests, fairness, cohesion and satisfactory terms of cooperation."



collective action, institutions, trust, co-management, indigenous institutions, governance