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The Drama of the Commons
tically across levels of organization. Furthermore, in a globalized world, the need for cross-scale institutions and vertical linkages becomes even greater. Globalization intensifies coupling and renders local institutions increasingly vulnerable. Local rules with emphasis on “how” people should fish rather than “how much” (Wilson et al., 1994) break down in most modern commercial fisheries subject to national and international market pressures, requiring other measures such as quota management to cap the quantity of harvest (Hilborn and Walters, 1992) and the crafting of new and different kinds of institutions.
The focus on institutions emerges from the commons literature documenting a rich diversity of ways in which rules can be made to avert the commons dilemma. Much of this literature refers to local-level commons institutions, and the bulk of the scholarship is concerned with community-based management. There are commons issues at the global level as well, and at various levels from the local to the global, with a growing literature base. However, the links between the various scales of commons management have not received much attention. Yet these links and the cross-scale institutions that provide them are important in their own right.
Given the significance of cross-scale institutional linkages and their dynamics, surprisingly little research has been carried out in this area. There is a large literature on common property institutions, and a growing base of mostly empirical literature on co-management, or the sharing of management power and responsibility between the government and local-level institutions, but relatively little on cross-scale institutions per se. Ostrom (1990) has proposed a set of seven design principles, plus an eighth for nested systems, that appears to characterize robust common property institutions. These principles have been widely used to guide research, despite perceived shortcomings (e.g., Steins et al., 2000). Agrawal (this volume:Chapter 2) argues that the number of factors that may be critical for commons management may more likely be on the order of 35, and that existing theory is short in specifying what makes for sustainable commons management. Young (this volume:Chapter 8) has drawn attention to the importance of partnerships between or among different levels of agencies, and the potential of such arrangements in dealing with problems of vertical linkages in institutional interplay. He points out, however, that we are far from the formulation of well-tested propositions about the determinants of success and failure in these cross-scale management regimes.
The subject of this chapter is the investigation of cross-scale institutional linkages, including co-management arrangements, and the exploration of new research directions. Within this larger goal, the objectives are (1) to identify promising institutional forms for linking across levels of institutions, and (2) to investigate the dynamics of cross-scale institutions in reference to adaptive management and resilience.
The chapter begins with a review and synthesis of the impacts of higher level institutions (national and international) on local-level institutions, as a way of