Developing a Method for Analyzing Institutional Change

ASSESSING THE EVOLUTION AND IMPACT OF ALTERNATIVE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES, Sandra Batie and Nicholas Mercuro, eds., London: Routledge Press, 2008

57 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2007  

Elinor Ostrom

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Political Science

Abstract

The stimuli for writing this paper come from multiple sources. First, both Allan Schmid (2004) and Douglass North (2005) have urged social scientists to move beyond the static and mechanistic analysis of much of contemporary political economy and game theory that focuses on a given situation and derives predictions regarding likely outcomes. Our tools, however, are most powerfully developed for the analysis of unchanging worlds. The world, however, is always changing. The next important step for social science is developing a cluster of tools for analyzing dynamic situations - particularly institutional change. Fortunately, in chapter 13 of Conflict and Cooperation: Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Schmid has initiated a major effort to introduce approaches that can be used in the analysis of institutional change. Among the approaches he identifies is one that examines the three processes of "Social Learning, Evolution, and Emergence." This paper is an effort to examine these processes in the context of an analysis of irrigation institutions. I focus on the processes of institutional change in relation to irrigations institutions as I do not think we can develop a general theory of institutional change until we understand the processes of change in multiple specific settings. Hopefully, the lessons learned from specific settings can be integrated into a more general theory as we progress to understand specific types of situations.

Keywords: institutional change, analysis, social science

Suggested Citation

Ostrom, Elinor, Developing a Method for Analyzing Institutional Change. ASSESSING THE EVOLUTION AND IMPACT OF ALTERNATIVE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES, Sandra Batie and Nicholas Mercuro, eds., London: Routledge Press, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=997837

Elinor Ostrom (Contact Author)

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Political Science

Bloomington, IN
United States

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