Gladstone, Barbara J. Lausche, Margaret A. McKean, Ronald J. Oakerson, Elinor Ostrom, Pauline E. Peters, C. Ford Runge, and James T. Thomson.


It is hoped that the revisits can be scheduled at least every 5 years so as to observe changes in forest extent, biomass, and biodiversity as well as any demographic, economic, or institutional change that may have occurred (see Ostrom, 1998).


This is, of course, an analytical distinction. Behaviorally, an individual faces a resource and the institutions that are used to manage that resource (if any) at the same time, so the attributes that affect individual choice are derived from both the resource and the institutions. In examining theory and in proposing policies, the distinction is important because interventions are far more likely in regard to the institutional variables than in regard to the underlying attributes of the resource.


Given the wide diversity of rules used in practice, each of these categories includes very diverse institutions. The classification is a first cut and analysts will find it useful for some purposes. For others, one needs to know precisely the rules being used for controlling access and making other choices about the resource.


Schnaiberg (1980) discusses the use of the biophysical environment as a source or as a sink.


This attribute was posed initially by Samuelson (1954) as a way to divide the world of goods into two classes: private consumption goods and public consumption goods. Private goods are subtractable, public goods are not.


Musgrave, like Samuelson (1954), also used one attribute—exclusion—as a way of dividing the world into two types of goods: private and public. Having demonstrated that the market had desirable properties when used in relationship to private goods, a key theoretical debate among economists during the 1950s focused on the question of conditions leading to market failure. For some time, scholars tried to classify all goods, resources, and services into those that could be called “private goods” and were best provided by a market and those that could be called “public goods” and were best provided by a government. The recognition that there were multiple attributes of goods and resources that affect the incentives facing users came about gradually as the dichotomies posed by Samuelson and Musgrave proved to be theoretically inadequate to the task of predicting the effect of institutional arrangements (see Chamberlin, 1974; Ostrom and Ostrom, 1977; Taylor, 1987).


See Schlager and Ostrom (1992) for a discussion of the bundle of rights that may be involved in the use of common-pool resources.


As already noted, cost of exclusion is only partially an attribute of the resource. Although resource characteristics matter (e.g., exclusion is more difficult in an ocean fishery than in a lake), cost of exclusion also is affected by available technology and various other attributes of user groups and their institutions.


Keohane and Ostrom (1995), for example, focus on four types of heterogeneity: heterogeneity in capabilities, in preferences, in information and beliefs, and in institutions. In addition to these types, current debates on devising instruments for global climate change policy suggest that heterogeneity in the extent of the past use of the resource also plays an important role.


Acheson, J.M., and J. Knight 2000 Distribution fights, coordination games, and lobster management. Comparative Studies in Society and History 42(1):209-238.

Arnold, J.E.M., and J.G. Campbell 1986 Collective management of hill forests in Nepal: The community forestry development project. Pp. 425-454 in National Research Council, Proceedings of the Conference on Common Property Resource Management. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Axelrod, R. 1984 The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books.

1997 The Complexity of Cooperation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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