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Institutional assessment in natural resource governance: A conceptual overview


  • Yeboah-Assiamah, Emmanuel
  • Muller, Kobus
  • Domfeh, Kwame Ameyaw


Natural resource governance is enhanced and structured by rules, norms and strategies which make institutionalism quintessential in the natural resource governance discourse. Adopting a retrospective analysis of classical theoretical literature and recent empirical experiences of natural resource institutions, this paper discusses institutional analysis as pertains to the natural resource governance context. Synthesizing from relevant literature, this review designs and discusses an analytical framework to illustrate how formal and informal institutions structure natural resource governance. The key elements in the framework are: biophysical element, process and institutional element, behavioral choice element, enforcement mechanisms and an outcome element. The paper argues that for formal rule to be more effective, it greatly depends on its relationship with the informal institutions and more importantly their enforcement complementarities. The study, consequently, discusses key elements that influence the effectiveness of natural resource rule enforcement. This review concludes that both formal and informal institutions serve as catalysts to reinforce natural resource governance; however, the two could also combine to form a clandestine network to facilitate unethical resource exploitation. The paper puts forward that, it is not institutions per se but the “nature of interaction” between formal and informal institutions together with the “enforcement mechanisms” which will to a large extent determine the kind of resource outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Yeboah-Assiamah, Emmanuel & Muller, Kobus & Domfeh, Kwame Ameyaw, 2017. "Institutional assessment in natural resource governance: A conceptual overview," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 1-12.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:74:y:2017:i:c:p:1-12
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2016.10.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:eee:forpol:v:86:y:2018:i:c:p:35-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:forpol:v:100:y:2019:i:c:p:33-43 is not listed on IDEAS


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