Scholar-participated governance as an alternative solution to the problem of collective action in social-ecological systems
Different from the three classical and popular models of central authority, privatization, and self-governance--which have been widely researched and applied in social-ecological policymaking in recent years, we propose an alternative model for collective action to resolve the problem of the tragedy of the commons. Our study is based on a series of game theoretic analyses and a field study of combating desertification in seven counties in Northwest China. The results show that scholars who have comparative advantages in knowledge and information over other social actors (such as herders and governments) can help game players resolve their collective action dilemma in social-ecological systems under certain conditions. This positive outcome can be achieved mainly through the participation of scholars as information providers, governmental agents, scholar-entrepreneurs, and pure game players.
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