2023 IASC Workshop on Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment

9 Mar 2023
8:00 AM

10 Mar 2023
5:00 PM

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Total Spaces


Workshop attendance is free and for IASC members only. Registration starts December 15, 2022, and ends March 1, 2023, or when the maximum capacity is met, whatever is first.

Not a member? Become an IASC member here.

If you register as an IASC member to attend this event you can request an event invoice for reimbursement purposes by emailing iasc@asu.edu after you register.

2023 IASC Workshop on Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment

Scope of the workshop

The Center for Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment at Arizona State University will facilitate a self-organizing workshop. This workshop is organized around working groups people proposed by December 15, 2022, and will focus on using multiple methods to study collective action and the commons. 

Individual participants not pre-assigned to a working group can also join the Workshop and self-select which group they want to join. A session could be a traditional lineup of research presentations but could also include tutorials, panel discussions, or hands-on exercises (like a pretest of an experiment).


The workshop will take place in Engineering Center Wing A (ECA). This is the location of the School of Complex Adaptive Systems (SCAS). The plenary events take place in ECA 101. The best way to enter the building is on the north side of the building. If you approach ECA from Palm Walk, you see a corridor north of the ECA building. The entrance is at the end of the corridor.

Dates and Costs

The event will take place and will be held on March 9-10, 2023.

Attendance at this workshop is free of charge, but an IASC membership is required. Not a member yet? You can sign up immediately here via this link.

Please note that this workshop has a maximum capacity of 50 participants, based on a first-come, first-served basis.

Program Schedule


Agrosystems working group (whole day)

Protected area working group (whole day)


Native American tribes and Protected Areas working group (Morning)

Modeling working group (Morning)

Plenary discussion on advances in methods and new research questions on the study of the commons (Afternoon)

Below you find the descriptions of the working groups. Click on the link to get more info:

Program Schedule Working groups

Advancing a Theory of Collective Action in Agroecosystems: Typology Workshop and Serious Games

Organizer:  Landon Yoder (Indiana University)

Duration: a whole day

This working group includes participatory workshops and serious game experiments, each focused on building theory and designing research to engage stakeholders to overcome collective action challenges in agroecosystems. The sessions would be focused on several agri-environmental social dilemma cases that have some similarities to traditional commons cases (e.g., fisheries) but also face critical differences (e.g., negative externalities, multiple stakeholders, tradeoffs among resource uses) that make cooperation difficult. The goal of the workshop would be to deepen our understanding and use of non-traditional commons case studies for working with stakeholders on community-based management approaches. The use of agroecosystems is a valuable opportunity to support theory-building in cases where neither voluntary nor regulatory governance options are sufficient to overcome the dilemma. The workshop will draw on several cases of quasi-CPR and public good challenges: herbicide-resistant weeds, sustainable rice certification, and diffuse water pollution. Each of these problems involves collective action challenges where shared consequences or cumulative effects of individual decisions matter.

We propose to hold five sessions. The first two sessions would be participatory theory-building exercises to examine non-traditional commons cases in agricultural systems. This builds on a recent paper in IJC focused on the need for more theory-building in non-traditional commons cases (Yoder et al., 2022). This working group will use a participatory approach with other commoners to generate insights on pathways towards collective action. The third and fourth sessions would focus on serious games as a method to examine collective action dynamics. Serious games have emerged as a promising method to engage people in learning about and solving real-world problems. At their core, serious games are educational games that take the form of board games, computer simulations, or role playing, but which can also incorporate elements of social dilemma and public good games drawing on game theory. The final session will provide an opportunity to capture and synthesize ideas from the previous sessions with a participatory workshop to generate a research agenda for collective action theory.

Session 1: Introduction to Case Studies. This session would include lightning talks from the session organizers on the opportunities and challenges for collective action in agroecosystems based on case studies of herbicide-resistant weeds, sustainable rice certification, and diffuse water pollution.

Session 2: Typology of Collective Action. This session would involve participants in workshopping examples and ideas for the drivers of cooperation based on the case studies to generate a preliminary typology of collective action in these three cases that could be explored further in future research. 

Sessions 3 & 4: Serious Games. These sessions can accommodate both small and large groups of participants as multiple games can be played simultaneously. The first part of S3 would be explaining the game play rules and then getting familiar with playing two serious games concurrently (Cover Crop Adoption, Sustainable Rice Certification), addressing aspects of experimental game design in a serious game. S4 would play an additional round in each game, followed by a debrief.

Session 5: Participatory Workshop on Future Research Directions. This concluding session will feature a panel discussion and break out groups to outline a research agenda for collective action theory. The goal of this session would be to develop a white paper or journal article among interested participants.

Yoder, Landon, Courtney Hammond Wagner, Kira Sullivan-Wiley, and Gemma Smith. 2022. “The Promise of Collective Action for Large-Scale Commons Dilemmas: Reflections on Common-Pool-Resource Theory.” International Journal of the Commons 16(1): 47–63.

 Governance of trade-off situations in protected areas: Using the Coupled Infrastructure System (CIS) Framework for analyzing and comparing three protected areas in the US 

Organizers: Elke Kellner (Arizona State University)

Duration: a whole day

 Achieving worldwide sustainable development remains the biggest challenge of the 21st century. Despite near-global consensus on Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, unresolved and politically contentious trade-offs have undermined implementation. The threat of climate change exacerbates these challenges. Trade-offs are also prevalent in protected areas which require governance processes to coordinate competing resource uses, such as the protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage, recreation, education, religious ceremonies, touristic activities, and local economic development. 

At this full-day workshop, we want to use a comparative case study approach for comparing the governance of three trade-off situations in three protected areas: Sedona (AZ), Grand Canyon (AZ), and Chaco Canyon (NM). All participants of this workshop are at least involved in one of the study areas. We will introduce and use for our analysis the Coupled Infrastructure System (CIS) framework. 

Exploring conditions shaping the integration of Native American tribes in managing protected areas in the US 

Organizers:  Elke Kellner (Arizona State University)

Duration: Half a day

 National Parks, protected areas, or other top-down approaches such as the 30 by 30 initiative have been criticized for limiting indigenous communities’ access to their commons, disallowing co-management of the land, and at worst, dispossessing them from their ancestral territories and resources. Despite scientific evidence that the integration of indigenous knowledge in decision-making processes can lead to more sustainable and just conservation outcomes, this occurs only rarely in US National Parks or National Monuments. 

In this half-day workshop, we will share and learn from successful examples of innovative governance schemes where Native American tribes were able to establish alliances with conservation agencies like NGOs or the State to – for example – co-management a protected area. Based on that, we will explore the barriers and opportunities for the establishment of such processes and what policies in the US could be adapted to support this. Last, we want to understand which other conditions shape the integration of indigenous knowledge in decision-making processes. 

The workshop will start with a presentation (by Elke Kellner and Tai Koester) about a comparative case study where the governance processes of two protected areas – Bears Ears National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park in the US – are analysed as critical cases in this regard. Both cases encompass an ecologically intact desert, thousands of archaeological sites left by the ancestors of Native American tribes, and abundant energy resources resulting in long-lasting conflicts between resource extraction and environmental conservation. Bears Ears is co-managed by the federal government and a five-member commission consisting of five sovereign Native American tribes, whereas Chaco is solely managed by the federal government. 

Computational Models of Collective Action: from theoretical simulations to empirical applications

Organizers: Francesca Federico (Arizona State University), Kathleen Salazar (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) and Raksha Balakhrisna (Arizona State University) 

Duration: Half a day


Computational modeling can be used to represent many aspects of social life, going from the general studies about evolution of behavioral strategies to the specificity of case studies.

Computational models help us to see emergent patterns from the interaction of different behaviors or simulate scenarios.

Simulation with theoretical models and case studies are at the two extremes of the modeling spectrum. At these two poles the relationship with data also changes. Models based on case studies try to fit the simulation with observational data, while theoretical models focus on hypothesis testing. What kinds of questions do these models with different approaches help answer? What is the good balance for models? To what extent can we inform models with data and at what point do extremely detailed models lose their predictive strength or undermine their trustworthiness? How much can models only inspired by observation of social phenomena be used without testing them with empirical data?


In this panel we will discuss the tradeoff between using theoretical models and case studies, intermediate cases and the best approach to follow based on different purposes. We will focus on how to use real data to inform models, opportunities and challenges related to fitting data and calibrating.

Useful Information

Do you have questions?

For info on content and program, please contact Marco Janssen, e-mail.

For info on lodging and travel, registration and IASC-membership, please contact Caren Burgermeister, e-mail.