Skip to main content

ASU Scholarship Showcase


This growing collection consists of scholarly works authored by ASU-affiliated faculty, students and community members, and contains many open access articles. ASU-affiliated authors are encouraged to Share Your Work in the ASU Digital Repository.




During the last 40 years evidence from systematic case study analysis and behavioral experiments have provided a comprehensive perspective on how communities can manage common resources in a sustainable way. The conventional theory based on selfish rational actors cannot explain empirical observations. A more comprehensive theoretical framework of human behavior is emerging that include concepts such as trust, conditional cooperation, other-regarding preferences, social norms, and reputation. The new behavioral perspective also demonstrates that behavioral responses depend on social and biophysical context.

Contributors
Janssen, Marco, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, et al.
Created Date
2015-02-01

In this paper we use a case study of the Rhine River to examine the relevance of Common Pool Resource (CPR) Theory for two conditions in which it has not been extensively tested: large scale international water management and pollution problems. For that purpose, we link variation in pollution abatement to a set of explanatory variables proposed by CPR theory. Causal inference is established through process tracing and a series of within-case comparison across actor groups (i.e. riparian nations, industry, and agriculture), resource types (i.e. point source, and non-point source pollutants), and time periods (1976–1986, when treaties provided a limited …

Contributors
Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio, Fleischman, Forrest D., Perez Ibarra, Irene, et al.
Created Date
2013-11-30

The Montreal Protocol is generally credited as a successful example of international cooperation in response to a global environmental problem. As a result, the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances has declined rapidly, and it is expected that atmospheric ozone concentrations will return to their normal ranges toward the end of this century. This paper applies the social-ecological system framework and common-pool resource theory to explore the congruence between successful resolution of small-scale appropriation problems and ozone regulation, a large-scale pollution problem. The results of our analysis correspond closely to past studies of the Protocol that highlight the importance of …

Contributors
Epstein, Graham, Perez Ibarra, Irene, Schoon, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2013-11-30

Adaptive comanagement endeavors to increase knowledge and responsiveness in the face of uncertainty and complexity. However, when collaboration between agency and nonagency stakeholders is mandated, rigid institutions may hinder participation and ecological outcomes. In this case study we analyzed qualitative data to understand how participants perceive strengths and challenges within an emerging adaptive comanagement in the Agua Fria Watershed in Arizona, USA that utilizes insight and personnel from a long-enduring comanagement project, Las Cienegas. Our work demonstrates that general lessons and approaches from one project may be transferable, but particular institutions, management structures, or projects must be place-specific. As public …

Contributors
Childs, Cameron, York, Abigail, White, Dave, et al.
Created Date
2013

Two classes of scaling behaviours, namely the super-linear scaling of links or activities, and the sub-linear scaling of area, diversity, or time elapsed with respect to size have been found to prevail in the growth of complex networked systems. Despite some pioneering modelling approaches proposed for specific systems, whether there exists some general mechanisms that account for the origins of such scaling behaviours in different contexts, especially in socioeconomic systems, remains an open question. We address this problem by introducing a geometric network model without free parameter, finding that both super-linear and sub-linear scaling behaviours can be simultaneously reproduced and …

Contributors
Zhang, Jiang, Li, Xintong, Wang, Xinran, et al.
Created Date
2015-04-29

Faced with numerous seemingly intractable social and environmental challenges, many scholars and practitioners are increasingly interested in understanding how to actively engage and transform the existing systems holding such problems in place. Although a variety of analytical models have emerged in recent years, most emphasize either the social or ecological elements of such transformations rather than their coupled nature. To address this, first we have presented a definition of the core elements of a social-ecological system (SES) that could potentially be altered in a transformation. Second, we drew on insights about transformation from three branches of literature focused on radical …

Contributors
Moore, Michele-Lee, Tjornbo, Ola, Enfors, Elin, et al.
Created Date
2013-11-30
thumbnail image

Human societies are unique in the level of cooperation among non-kin. Evolutionary models explaining this behavior typically assume pure strategies of cooperation and defection. Behavioral experiments, however, demonstrate that humans are typically conditional co-operators who have other-regarding preferences. Building on existing models on the evolution of cooperation and costly punishment, we use a utilitarian formulation of agent decision making to explore conditions that support the emergence of cooperative behavior. Our results indicate that cooperation levels are significantly lower for larger groups in contrast to the original pure strategy model. Here, defection behavior not only diminishes the public good, but also …

Contributors
Janssen, Marco, Manning, Miles, Udiani, Oyita, et al.
Created Date
2014-07-01

We use an agent-based model to analyze the effects of spatial heterogeneity and agents’ mobility on social–ecological outcomes. Our model is a stylized representation of a dynamic population of agents moving and harvesting a renewable resource. Cooperators (agents who harvest an amount close to the maximum sustainable yield) and selfish agents (those who harvest an amount greater than the sustainable yield) are simulated in the model. Three indicators of the outcomes of the system are analyzed: the number of settlements, the resource level, and the proportion of cooperators in the population. Our paper adds a more realistic approach to previous …

Contributors
Perez, Irene, Janssen, Marco, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, et al.
Created Date
2015-01-24

The context in which many self-governed commons systems operate will likely be significantly altered as globalization processes play out over the next few decades. Such dramatic changes will induce some systems to fail and subsequently to be transformed, rather than merely adapt. Despite this possibility, research on globalization-induced transformations of social-ecological systems (SESs) is still underdeveloped. We seek to help fill this gap by exploring some patterns of transformation in SESs and the question of what factors help explain the persistence of cooperation in the use of common-pool resources through transformative change. Through the analysis of 89 forest commons in …

Contributors
Yu, David, Anderies, John, Lee, Dowon, et al.
Created Date
2013-11-30

Marine harvesters face significant livelihood challenges due to the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems, and due to economic fluctuations that influence their incomes. In this study, we demonstrate vulnerability as a product of the interactions among marine harvesters, government and buyers. We combined Elinor Ostrom's attention to the influence of institutions on resource exploitation, with political ecology's attention to perceptions of agency, and the contribution of justice and equity to measuring the success of institutions. We demonstrate the benefits of this approach by examining the multi-species fishery of Barrington, Nova Scotia. We conducted 31 semi-structured interviews and 113 …

Contributors
Barnett, Allain, Eakin, Hallie, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, et al.
Created Date
2014-10-20