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In pursuit of comparable concepts and data about collective action


  • Poteete, Amy R.
  • Ostrom, Elinor


Research on collective action confronts two major obstacles. First, inconsistency in the conceptualization and operationalization of collective action, the key factors expected to affect collective action, and the outcomes of collective action hampers the accumulation of knowledge. Inconsistent terminology obscures consistent patterns. Second, the scarcity of comparable data thwarts evaluation of the relative importance of the many variables identified in the literature as likely to influence collective action. The International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) research program addresses both of these problems. Since its founding in 1993, the IFRI network of collaborating research centers has used a common set of methods and concepts to study forests, the people who use forest resources, and their institutions for resource management. The basic social unit of analysis in IFRI is the user group, defined as a set of individuals with the same rights and responsibilities to forest resources. This definition does not require formal organization or collective action, since these features are potential dependent variables. This strategy for data collection allows analysis of relationships between diverse forms of social heterogeneity and collective action within groups with comparable rights to resources. IFRI's relational database also captures the connections among forest systems, sets of resource users, particular forest products, formal and informal rules for resource use, and formal local and supra-local organizations. By the middle of 2001, the IFRI database included data on 141 sites with 231 forests, 233 user groups, 94 forest organizations, and 486 products in 12 countries. Drawing upon these data, IFRI researchers are contributing substantially to our understanding of collective action for institutional development, the mediating role institutions play relative to demographic and market pressures in patterns of resource use, and relationships between p
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Suggested Citation

  • Poteete, Amy R. & Ostrom, Elinor, 2004. "In pursuit of comparable concepts and data about collective action," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 215-232, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:82:y:2004:i:3:p:215-232

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
    7. Dustin Becker, Constance, 2003. "Grassroots to Grassroots: Why Forest Preservation was Rapid at Loma Alta, Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 163-176, January.
    8. Campbell, Bruce & Mandondo, Alois & Nemarundwe, Nontokozo & Sithole, Bevlyne & De JonG, Wil & Luckert, Marty & Matose, Frank, 2001. "Challenges to Proponents of Common Property Recource Systems: Despairing Voices from the Social Forests of Zimbabwe," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 589-600, April.
    9. Clark C. Gibson & Fabrice E. Lehoucq & John T. Williams, 2002. "Does Privatization Protect Natural Resources? Property Rights and Forests in Guatemala," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 83(1), pages 206-225.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antoine Billot & Chantal Marlats, 2009. "Préferences psychologiques et nouvelle économie politique," PSE Working Papers halshs-00566146, HAL.
    2. Clarisse Cazals & Marie Lemariè, 2011. "Land-use conflicts and quality on the coastal area "Bassin d'Arcachon": a regional newspapers analysis," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1331, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & DiGregorio, Monica & McCarthy, Nancy, 2004. "Methods for studying collective action in rural development," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 197-214, December.
    4. Poteete, Amy R. & Ostrom, Elinor, 2008. "Fifteen Years of Empirical Research on Collective Action in Natural Resource Management: Struggling to Build Large-N Databases Based on Qualitative Research," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 176-195, January.
    5. Zhu Ting & Chen Haiyun & Ganesh Shivakoti & Roland Cochard & Kanokwan Homcha-aim, 2011. "Revisit to community forest in northeast of Thailand: changes in status and utilization," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 385-402, April.
    6. Cembalo, Luigi & Pascucci, Stefano & Tagliafierro, Carolina & Caracciolo, Francesco, 2014. "Managing integration in bio-energy chains by promoting a collective action," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182690, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Schusser, Carsten & Krott, Max & Yufanyi Movuh, Mbolo C. & Logmani, Jacqueline & Devkota, Rosan R. & Maryudi, Ahamad & Salla, Manjola & Bach, Ngo Duy, 2015. "Powerful stakeholders as drivers of community forestry — Results of an international study," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 92-101.
    8. Byström, Marie, 2004. "Formal and informal systems in support of farmer management of agro-biodiversity: some policy challenges to consolidate lessons learned," CAPRi working papers 31, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Swallow, Kimberly A. & Swallow, Brent M., 2015. "Explicitly integrating institutions into bioeconomic modeling:," IFPRI discussion papers 1420, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Maria Manuela Castro Silva, 2006. "Collective Action-A Challenge and an Opportunity for Water Governance," ERSA conference papers ersa06p659, European Regional Science Association.
    11. Doss, Cheryl R. & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth, 2015. "Collective Action within the Household: Insights from Natural Resource Management," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 171-183.
    12. repec:spr:climat:v:141:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10584-016-1881-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Schusser, Carsten & Krott, Max & Movuh, Mbolo C. Yufanyi & Logmani, Jacqueline & Devkota, Rosan R. & Maryudi, Ahmad & Salla, Manjola, 2016. "Comparing community forestry actors in Cameroon, Indonesia, Namibia, Nepal and Germany," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 81-87.
    14. Cembalo, Luigi & Pascucci, Stefano & Tagliafierro, Carolina & Caracciolo, Francesco, 2014. "Promoting Agro-Energy Supply Chain As A Collective Action," 88th Annual Conference, April 9-11, 2014, AgroParisTech, Paris, France 170481, Agricultural Economics Society.
    15. Matilde Casuccio & Enrico Giovannetti, 2008. "The Cooperative Movement in Bolivia: Fair Trade in Amazzonia Nuts," Department of Economics 0592, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".

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