Working Together: Collective Action, the Commons, and Multiple Methods in Practice

Overview

Advances In The Social Sciences have emerged through a variety of research methods: field-based research, laboratory and field experiments, and agent-based models. However, which research method or approach is best suited to a particular inquiry is frequently debated and discussed. Working Together examines how different methods have promoted various theoretical developments related to collective action and the commons, and demonstrates the importance of cross-fertilization involving multi-method research across ...

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Working Together: Collective Action, the Commons, and Multiple Methods in Practice

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Overview

Advances In The Social Sciences have emerged through a variety of research methods: field-based research, laboratory and field experiments, and agent-based models. However, which research method or approach is best suited to a particular inquiry is frequently debated and discussed. Working Together examines how different methods have promoted various theoretical developments related to collective action and the commons, and demonstrates the importance of cross-fertilization involving multi-method research across traditional boundaries. The authors look at why cross-fertilization is difficult to achieve, and they show ways to overcome these challenges through collaboration.

The authors provide numerous examples of collaborative, multimethod research related to collective action and the commons. They examine the pros and cons of case studies, meta-analyses, large-N field : research, experiments and modeling, and empirically grounded agent-based models, and they consider how these methods contribute to research on collective action for the management of natural resources. Using their findings, the authors outline a revised theory of collective action that includes three elements: individual decision making, microsituational conditions, and features of the broader social-ecological context.

Acknowledging the academic incentives that influence and constrain how research is conducted, Working Together reworks the theory of collective action and offers practical solutions for researchers and students across a spectrum of disciplines.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Artificial Societies Social Simulation
The cutting edge knowledge on collective action introduced in this book is particularly challenging. . . . [T]his book is something that social simulation practitioners should definitely read.
— Olivier Barreteau
Journal of Artificial Societies Social Simulation - Olivier Barreteau
The cutting edge knowledge on collective action introduced in this book is particularly challenging. . . . [T]his book is something that social simulation practitioners should definitely read.
From the Publisher
"The cutting edge knowledge on collective action introduced in this book is particularly challenging. . . . [T]his book is something that social simulation practitioners should definitely read."—Olivier Barreteau, Journal of Artificial Societies Social Simulation
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691146034
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/3/2010
  • Pages: 370
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy R. Poteete is assistant professor of political science at Concordia University in Montreal. Marco A. Janssen is assistant professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. Elinor Ostrom is professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, and Arizona State University, Tempe, and the cowinner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii List of Tables xv Acknowledgments xvii Prologue xxi Part One: Introduction

Chapter One: Overcoming Methodological Challenges 3
Social Science Debates over the Superiority of Particular Methods 7
Multiple Methods: Promises and Challenges 11
Practical Challenges and Methodological Trade-Offs 14
Technological Development and the Costs of Border Crossing 15
Availability and Accessibility of Data 17
Career Incentives as Methodological Constraints 18
Training 19
Career Incentives and Specialization 20
Our Substantive Focus 21
Interactions between Theory and Methods 23
Multiple Methods and Collaborative Research 23
Practical Constraints on Methodological Choices 23
Career Incentives and Methodological Practice 24
Outline of the Book 24

Part Two: Field Methods Chapter Two: Small-N Case Studies: Putting the Commons under a Magnifying Glass 31
The Conventional Theory of the Commons 31
The Case Study Method 33
Cases, Case Studies, and Case Study Research 33
Analytical Strengths and Weaknesses 34
Practical Considerations 37
Synthesizing Challenges and Coordinating New Research Efforts 39
Contributions to the Study of the Commons 45
Property Rights and Tenure Security 45
Group Characteristics 52
Resource Characteristics 57
Case Studies as a Foundation 60

Chapter Three: Broadly Comparative Field-Based Research 64
Methodological Practices over Fifteen Years of Research 65
Defining the Units of Analysis 66
Trading Geographic Scope for Numbers? 68
Theoretical Aspirations and Methodological Practices 74
Practical Challenges to Broadly Comparative Field-Based Research 74
Costs of Data Collection 75
Research Design and Sampling 76
The Implications of Data Scarcity and Costliness 78
Meta-Analysis: An Introduction 78
Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Meta-Analysis 81
Coding Strategies and Missing Data 81
Potential Sources of Sample Bias 83
The Choice of Methodological Strategy: Weighing Costs against Control 86

Chapter Four: Meta-Analysis: Getting the Big Picture through Synthesis 89
Meta-Analysis: A Recapitulation 89
The Common-Pool Resource (CPR) Research Program 90
Defining Variables 92
Compensating for Gaps in Case Materials 93
Contributions 94
Overall Assessment 101
NIIS: A Hybrid Approach 102
Adaptation of the CPR Protocols 103
Measurement and Sampling 104
Contributions 105
Overall Assessment 107
Other Synthetic Studies 107
Additional Examples of Meta-Analysis 108
An Example of Narrative Synthesis 111
Progress and Continuing Challenges 113

Chapter Five: Collaborative Field Studies 115
Collaboration in Field-Based Research, 1990-2004 116
Two Research Partnerships 118
Community-Based Management of Common-Pool Resources in Tanzania 118
Traditional Management of Artisanal Fisheries in Nigeria 120
Thoughts about Research Partnerships 124
CGIAR: A Global Research Alliance 124
IFRI: An International Research Network 126
Strategies for Data Collection 127
Strategies for Coordination 128
Contributions and Challenges 129
Comparing the Strategies and Drawing Implications 132

Part Three: Models and Experiments in the Laboratory and the Field Chapter Six: Experiments in the Laboratory and the Field 141
The Experimental Method 142
Laboratory Experiments of Relevance to the Study of the Commons 144
Public Goods Experiments 146
Common-Pool Resource Experiments 150
Insights from Public Goods and Common-Pool Resource Experiments in the Laboratory 153
Face-to-Face Communication in the Laboratory 153
Heterogeneity 156
Sanctioning Experiments 158
Field Experiments 159
Toward a New Generation of Experiments of Commons Dilemmas 163
New Developments in Laboratory Experiments 164
Toward a New Generation of Field Experiments 168
Conclusion 169

Chapter Seven: Agent-Based Models of Collective Action 171
A Brief Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling 171
Cellular Automata 172
Networks 173
Agents 174
Strengths and Weaknesses of Agent-Based Models 175
Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma 177
Cooperation among Egoists 177
Evolving Strategies in Prisoner's Dilemma Tournaments 178
Spatial Games 180
Spatial Social Dilemma Games 180
Spatial Public Goods Games 181
Indirect Reciprocity 182
Evolution of Costly Punishment 185
Evolution of Social (Meta) Norms 187
Future Challenges 188
Conclusion 191

Chapter Eight: Building Empirically Grounded Agent-Based Models 194
Comparing Simulations with Data 195
Different Approaches to Combine Empirical Data and Agent-Based Models 196
Agent-Based Models of Laboratory and Field Experiments 198
Role Games and Companion Modeling 204
Models of Case Studies 207
Methodological Challenges 210
Conclusion 212

Part Four: Synthesis Chapter Nine: Pushing the Frontiers of the Theory of Collective Action and the Commons 215
Synopsis of Research Developments Reviewed in Parts II and III 217
Toward a More General Behavioral Theory of Human Action 220
Assumptions of a Behavioral Theory 222
The Centrality of Trust 226
Unpacking the Concept of Context 227
The Microsituational Context 228
The Impact of Microsituational Variables on Cooperation 228
The Challenge of Linking Contextual Scales 231
The Broader Scale Affecting Collective Action 232
Ontological Frameworks 233
An Ontological Framework of Social-Ecological Systems 234
Predicting Self-Organization Drawing on the SES Framework 236
Diagnosing Institutional Change 239
Challenges for Future Research 243
Conclusion 245

Appendix 9.1: A Theoretical Puzzle: Why Do Some Resource Users Self-Organize and Others Do Not? 246
Chapter Ten Learning from Multiple Methods 248
Interlocking Developments in Methods and Theory 249
Methodological and Disciplinary Cross-Fertilization and Theoretical Innovation 251
Sequential Movement between Methods and Disciplines 252
Combining Multiple Methods and Disciplines in a Program of Research 255
Spaces for Cross-Fertilization 257
Practical Challenges 258
Trade-Offs in Training and Research 258
Professional Incentives 260
Collaborative Research as a Collective-Action Problem 262
Rewards to Individual and Collaborative Research 263
Fragmentation of Academia 265
Misunderstandings and Mistrust 266
Long-Term Funding 269
Responding to the Challenges 270
Looking Forward 271

Notes 275
References 289
Index 339

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