IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Archetypical barriers to adapting water governance in river basins to climate change




Can we explain barriers to adaptation of collective action to changes in the natural environment? One reason for adaptation is the impacts of climate change. Ample case study evidence shows that such adaptation is rarely a smooth process. However, generalisable patterns of how and why barriers arise remain scarce. The study adopts a collective action perspective and the archetypes approach in a meta-analysis of 26 selected publications to explain how barriers arise in specific conditions. Focusing on adaptation of water governance in river basins, the study finds 21 reappearing patterns. Less well-established patterns relate to water property rights, hydrological standards, adaptation externalities, non-climatological uncertainty and vertical coordination. Results further show how barriers impede collective action in specific ways. The paper precisely introduces the archetypes approach, and shows that reported problems in adapting collective action under climate change arise from attributes of actors and pre-existing institutions rather than biophysical characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Oberlack, Christoph & Eisenack, Klaus, 2018. "Archetypical barriers to adapting water governance in river basins to climate change," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 527-555, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jinsec:v:14:y:2018:i:03:p:527-555_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jinsec:v:14:y:2018:i:03:p:527-555_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.