Institutional design for a complex commons: Variations in the design of credible commitments and the provision of public goods

Edella Schlager, Laura A. Bakkensen, Tomás Olivier, Jeffrey Hanlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sustainably managing regional-scale common pool resources and providing for environmental public goods often requires the cooperation of multiple governments in the design and adoption of diverse institutional arrangements. Do government actors anticipate the collective action challenges of credible commitment and public goods provision in devising institutional arrangements? Drawing on public–private partnerships, local public contracting and political economy literatures, hypotheses on expected diversity in design are developed. The hypotheses are tested using fine-grained data from the approximately 3,000 rules composing the New York City watersheds governing arrangements focusing on measures of discretion, shared decision-making, monitoring, compliance and sanctioning. Using mixed methods we find that actors resort to distinct designs to create credible commitments, when compared to the provision of public goods. Also, the design of primary public goods arrangements varies from secondary public goods. The article presents a novel approach for using textual data to empirically test hypotheses grounded in theories of institutional design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Administration
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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