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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

Sustainability theory can help achieve desirable social-ecological states by generalizing lessons across contexts and improving the design of sustainability interventions. To accomplish these goals, we argue that theory in sustainability science must (1) explain the emergence and persistence of social-ecological states, (2) account for endogenous cultural change, (3) incorporate cooperation dynamics, and (4) address the complexities of multilevel social-ecological interactions. We suggest that cultural evolutionary theory broadly, and cultural multilevel selection in particular, can improve on these fronts. We outline a multilevel evolutionary framework for describing social-ecological change and detail how multilevel cooperative dynamics can determine outcomes in environmental dilemmas. ...

Contributors
Waring, Timothy M., Kline, Michelle, Brooks, Jeremy S., et al.
Created Date
2014-11-30

Experiments have made important contributions to our understanding of human behavior, including behavior relevant for understanding social-ecological systems. When there is a conflict between individual and group interests in social-ecological systems, social dilemmas occur. From the many types of social-dilemma formulations that are used to study collective action, common-pool resource and public-good dilemmas are most relevant for social-ecological systems. Experimental studies of both common-pool resource and public-good dilemmas have shown that many predictions based on the conventional theory of collective action, which assumes rational, self-interested behavior, do not hold. More cooperation occurs than predicted (Ledyard 1995), “cheap talk” increases cooperation ...

Contributors
Janssen, Marco, Lindahl, Therese, Murphy, James J., et al.
Created Date
2015

Large-N comparative studies have helped common pool resource scholars gain general insights into the factors that influence collective action and governance outcomes. However, these studies are often limited by missing data, and suffer from the methodological limitation that important information is lost when we reduce textual information to quantitative data. This study was motivated by nine case studies that appeared to be inconsistent with the expectation that the presence of Ostrom’s Design Principles increases the likelihood of successful common pool resource governance. These cases highlight the limitations of coding and analysing Large-N case studies. We examine two issues: 1) the ...

Contributors
Barnett, Allain, Baggio, Jacopo, Shin, Hoon Cheol, et al.
Created Date
2016-09-09

On-going efforts to understand the dynamics of coupled social-ecological (or more broadly, coupled infrastructure) systems and common pool resources have led to the generation of numerous datasets based on a large number of case studies. This data has facilitated the identification of important factors and fundamental principles which increase our understanding of such complex systems. However, the data at our disposal are often not easily comparable, have limited scope and scale, and are based on disparate underlying frameworks inhibiting synthesis, meta-analysis, and the validation of findings. Research efforts are further hampered when case inclusion criteria, variable definitions, coding schema, and ...

Contributors
Ratajczyk, Elicia, Brady, Ute, Baggio, Jacopo, et al.
Created Date
2016-09-09

Recently, there has been an increased interest in using behavioral experiments to study hypotheses on the governance of social-ecological systems. A diversity of software tools are used to implement such experiments. We evaluated various publicly available platforms that could be used in research and education on the governance of social-ecological systems. The aims of the various platforms are distinct, and this is noticeable in the differences in their user-friendliness and their adaptability to novel research questions. The more easily accessible platforms are useful for prototyping experiments and for educational purposes to illustrate theoretical concepts. To advance novel research aims, more ...

Contributors
Janssen, Marco, Lee, Allen, Waring, Timothy M., et al.
Created Date
2013-11-30

Governing common pool resources (CPR) in the face of disturbances such as globalization and climate change is challenging. The outcome of any CPR governance regime is the influenced by local combinations of social, institutional, and biophysical factors, as well as cross-scale interdependencies. In this study, we take a step towards understanding multiple-causation of CPR outcomes by analyzing 1) the co-occurrence of Destign Principles (DP) by activity (irrigation, fishery and forestry), and 2) the combination(s) of DPs leading to social and ecological success. We analyzed 69 cases pertaining to three different activities: irrigation, fishery, and forestry. We find that the importance ...

Contributors
Baggio, Jacopo, Barnett, Alain J., Perez, Irene, et al.
Created Date
2016-09-09

Groundwater is a common-pool resource that is subject to depletion in many places around the world as a result of increased use of irrigation and water-demanding cash crops. Where state capacity to control groundwater use is limited, collective action is important to increase recharge and restrict highly water-consumptive crops. We present results of field experiments in hard rock areas of Andhra Pradesh, India, to examine factors affecting groundwater use. Two nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) ran the games in communities where they were working to improve watershed and water management. Results indicate that, when the links between crop choice and groundwater depletion ...

Contributors
Meinzen-Dick, Ruth, Chaturvedi, Rahul, Domenech, Laia, et al.
Created Date
2016

Institutions, the rules of the game that shape repeated human interactions, clearly play a critical role in helping groups avoid the inefficient use of shared resources such as fisheries, freshwater, and the assimilative capacity of the environment. Institutions, however, are intimately intertwined with the human, social, and biophysical context within which they operate. Scholars typically are careful to take this context into account when studying institutions and Ostrom’s Institutional Design Principles are a case in point. Scholars have tested whether Ostrom’s Design Principles, which specify broad relationships between institutional arrangements and context, actually support successful governance of shared resources. This ...

Contributors
Anderies, John, Janssen, Marco, Schlager, Edella, et al.
Created Date
2016-09-23

Research on collective action and common-pool resources is extensive. However, little work has concentrated on the effect of variability in resource availability and collective action, especially in the context of asymmetric access to resources. Earlier works have demonstrated that environmental variability often leads to a reduction of collective action in the governance of shared resources. Here we assess how environmental variability may impact collective action. We performed a behavioral experiment involving an irrigation dilemma. In this dilemma participants invested first into a public fund that generated water resources for the group, which were subsequently appropriated by one participant at a ...

Contributors
Baggio, Jacopo, Rollins, Nathan, Perez, Irene, et al.
Created Date
2015