Arizona Workshop 2020

12 Mar 2020
8:00 AM

13 Mar 2020
5:00 PM

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Total Spaces


Workshop attendance is free and for IASC members only. Registration starts December 15, 2019, and ends March 1, 2020, or when the maximum capacity is met, whatever is first. NEWS ALERT: We reached maximumcapacity!

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To register you will be redirected to the main IASC website and asked to log in.

If you register as an IASC member for the purpose of attending this event you can request an event invoice for reimbursement purposes by emailing after you register.



This Workshop will focus on the use of multiple methods to study collective action and the commons. The Workshop is organized around working groups and will be hosted by Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona (USA).


The workshop will take place in Engineering Center Wing A. This is the location of the Global Biosocial Complexity Initiative (GBCI). The plenary events take place in ECA 101. The best way to enter the building is at 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 12-13, 2020, with a pre-workshop tutorial on the day before the workshop (March 11).

Attendance to this workshop is free of charge, but 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 of 50 participants, based on a first come first served basis.

Program Schedule Working groups

Thursday ECA 101 ECA 120 ECA 375
Plenary Opening
Polycentric Governance
Polycentric Governance
Polycentric Governance
Mars Madness pretest
Polycentric Governance
Mars Madness pretest
Friday ECA 101 ECA 120 ECA 375
Institutional Grammar
Psychological Theory
Institutional Grammar
Psychological Theory
Institutional Grammar
Games in classrooms
Institutional Grammar
Games in classrooms
Plenary closing

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

Institutions of Collective Action – Scaling Co-op Business Case Studies to a Large N

Organizers: Keith Taylor (U.C. Davis) & Mackenzie R. Johnson (U.C. Davis)

Duration: half a day

The goal of this session is to work with colleagues on the further refinement and development of our research program around the U.S. electric co-op sector. Our ultimate objective is to inform the collective understanding of the broader co-op business sector and contribute to Bloomington School Institutionalism, specifically on self-governance and polycentric systems.

Despite the fact that the American electric co-ops are incredibly robust, with performance metrics rivaling their investor-owned counterparts, they are little understood. And yet actors in the sector have overcome significant collective action dilemmas unique to cooperatives  by forming confederated, self-governing systems.

Our long-term goal is to collect data on the entire population of the electric co-op sector but currently focus on case studies of seven electric co-ops. We will present first the research we have so far, and then have a panel to discuss the research on co-ops within IASC in general, and see the electric co-op sector as a vehicle for comparative collaborative research. A desired output is collaborative program within the IASC on co-ops.

Games in the classroom: Teaching collective action through simulations, role playing, and strategic games

Organizers: Michael Cox (Dartmouth College), Tanya Heikkila (University of Colorado Denver) and Tom Koontz (University of Washington Tacoma),

Duration: half a day

Active learning and experiential learning have been shown to increase engagement of student learners in the classroom.  By asking students to assume roles as various stakeholders, or players in a strategic game, instructors can encourage critical thinking and help students gain insights into behaviors and group dynamics.

Of course, strategic game playing has been used for decades, via experiments, to develop and test collective action theory.  Experiments put players into strategic positions with particular rules and incentives as a means to generate empirical data for research purposes.  But our focus here is on using games to enhance student learning.  How can research experiments be adapted for classroom use, and which other games are beneficial in which kinds of courses for teaching collective action concepts?

Participants in this working group will share their experiences with different games in the classroom.  An opening presentation will review the foundations of how games enhance learning and introduce a few online resources for learning about collective action games.  Subsequent presenters will share experiences with different games used in the classroom, including pre-packaged board games and games designed specifically for classroom use.

The goal is to spark ideas for how to use different games in the classroom, and to build a network of instructors for mutual learning about using games to teach collective action. Furthermore, we aim to create a collection of games for teaching connected to the IASC website.

Markets and the Commons: Understanding Institutional Diversity

Organizers:  Dustin E. Garrick (Oxford University), Sergio Villamayor-Tomas (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Abigail Bennett (Michigan State University), and Tanya Hayes (Seattle University).

Duration: Half a day

In a world approaching peak population and growing inequality, few things are more polarizing than markets as a means of governing the commons. Environmental markets are no longer new, nor novel, however. At least 550 market-based programmes, totalling an annual investment USD $36-48B, suggest this is now a mature policy innovation, replete with successes and also many failures [1].  Yet these environmental markets are diverse, spanning from carbon emissions trading to biodiversity offsetting, leading some observers to refer to them as an ‘asylum country for all tools with a price component’ [2]. These figures also exclude informal markets, which are ubiquitous, and particularly widespread across the Global South, often in the absence of the state, or in defiance of it.

The narrowing of vision involved in setting up markets can blind policymakers to institutional diversity and the different modes of collective action involved. There has now been over a generation of experimentation with markets to govern the commons, and growing sophistication in the research about collective action underpinning such approaches. The time is ripe for understanding the diversity and evolution of environmental markets and charting an agenda for the future, grounded in rich theory and global evidence about collective action, markets and the commons.

This working group advances a complementary set of methods to foster theory development regarding the institutional diversity and political economy of environmental and natural resource markets involving different types of CPRs. As such, it embraces the recent push for understanding ‘hybrid’ governance and institutional diversity by using qualitative and quantitative techniques for applying the IAD to characterise the institutional arrangements governing environmental markets.


• Define key concepts (markets) and their relationship to the commons

• Identify archetypes/typologies and propositions about design and performance

• Address empirical challenges in comparative and longitudinal research

• Explore methodological innovations and scope for common data architecture / databases (including links to commons databases)


• Section 1: Collective action, markets and the commons (concepts, theories and models)

1. Dustin: Understanding the diversity and evolution of environmental markets

2. Abby: Institutions in the market and at sea: A beyond-harvesting analysis of sea cucumber poaching and trafficking in Yucatán, Mexico •

• Section 2: Advancing methods for comparison and longitudinal research

1. Tanya: Assessing behavioural change under the rise and fall of Ecuador’s payment for environmental services: preliminary findings and methodological considerations

2. Sergio: Markets and communities: first steps towards a review


1. Review papers (Villamayor et al., Garrick et al., and Gilson et al.) and a proposal for a special issue in Journal of Institutional Economics or similar, linked to IASC 2021 panel session.

2. Garrick is leading the development of the Uncommon Markets Database. The thematic workshop in 2022 will be used to expand this project based on a common data architecture, a data-sharing platform, and a coding form to support case study development, synthesis, and meta-analysis. This workshop will be contingent on successful funding from the ORA, NSF/ESRC, or similar.

Literature to review

• Shared Dropbox folder:

• Reference list:

[1] Salzman, J., Bennett, G., Carroll, N., Goldstein, A. and Jenkins, M., 2018. The global status and trends of payments for ecosystem services. Nature Sustainability, 1(3)

[2] Hrabanski, M., 2015: 144. The biodiversity offsets as market-based instruments in global governance: Origins, success and controversies. Ecosystem services, 15

Integrating psychological theory and environmental social science

Organizers: Jacopo Baggio (University of Central Florida), Michael Cox (Dartmouth University), Graham Epstein (University of Waterloo), Sergio Villamayor-Tomas (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

Duration: Half a day

Summary: To-date the interdisciplinary field of environmental social science (ESS) has not made much explicit reference to theories from social psychology. At the same time, several key outcomes that ESS research addresses (e.g. collective action) closely relate to psychological concepts such as incentives and motivation. Many of the explanations posed by ESS scholars reflect psychological processes. While there has been some discussion of concepts such as bounded rationality as a model for human behavior, we lack a consensus on how psychological concepts and theories should be used in ESS. Via a set of presentations (first half) and a roundtable with participants (second half), we will explore ways in which further integration of psychological and ESS research can be achieved.


Psychological theory and case studies of the commons, Michael Cox and Sergio Villamayor-Tomas

Much of the progress made to integrate social psychology into commons theory comes from experimental work. In this presentation we take very preliminary stock of this work and consider how non-experimental research can make similar contributions, in similar or different ways. Relatedly, we discuss how non-experimental, case study work can leverage experimental results to make sense of observational findings. Finally, we explore the opportunities for and challenges to the use of pattern matching and process tracing to build and test theories from social psychology in commons case studies.

Compliance, crowding and conditional cooperation, Graham Epstein

Crowding theory is frequently used to explain the emergence of cooperation and compliance in participatory environmental governance. Crowding theory suggests that policies and practices that enhance the autonomy of actors yield intrinsic incentives for cooperation, and that external interventions, such as enforcement will crowd-out such incentives. And yet there is growing empirical evidence highlighting the importance of enforcement as a critical building block of sustainable environmental governance as a deterrent for free-riders and a source of assurance for conditional cooperators. This presentation builds upon recent findings to examine the relationship between crowding theory and conditional cooperation.

Cognitive abilities for collective action: from individuals to nation states. Jacopo Baggio

Initiating large-scale collective action to sustain natural resources is a key challenge in a world of global environmental change. Research relevant to meeting this challenge must assess the effects of human cognitive abilities on collective action under multiple scenarios of social and ecological change and at different scales. Here we will present how cognitive abilities scale from the individual to country level. This presentation will illustrate the importance of social and general intelligence for solving a collective action problem and governance effectiveness at different scales. Groups/states and countries high in general intelligence–useful for modeling natural resources–and social intelligence–useful for modeling the social relationships–more effectively and consistently sustain natural resources in an experiment. These results shed light on the ability of groups/teams to solve collective action problems at different scales.

Applying archetype analysis to commons research

Organizers: Rimjhim Aggarwal (Arizona State University), David Manuel Navarrete (Arizona State University) & Anastasia Gotgelf (Humboldt University in Berlin)

Duration: Whole Day

Archetypes are increasingly used across a wide range of sustainability themes for “pattern recognition, diagnosis, or scenario development”. In the first half of this workshop, we will explore how archetypes, as a methodological approach, have been applied to a diverse range of common pool resource (CPR) problems to understand recurrent patterns of variables and processes. In the second half of the workshop, participants will work in teams on a hands-on exercise – drawing on a family of cases from the Social-Ecological Systems (SES) Library at ASU – to explore how archetype analysis can be used to synthesize results from a set of case studies. This interactive activity will facilitate the transfer of knowledge from one case to another, and contribute towards evidence based policy making. Local practitioners engaged in CPR management from Arizona will also be invited to participate.

Morning Presentations

Introduction to Archetype Analysis as a methodological approach by David Manuel Navarrete (Arizona State University) & Matteo Roggero (Humboldt University in Berlin)

Archetypes of polycentric climate governance – Different paths to ambitious climate action in European cities by Matteo Roggero (Humboldt University in Berlin)

Archetypes and the problem of fit: examining institutional performance across socioeconomic gradients by Graham Epstein (University of Waterloo)

The archetype approach and system archetypes: An application to common village pasture problems in the South Caucasus by Regina Neudert (University Greifswald)

Synthesis & Discussion: Researchers who have applied this approach across a diverse range of commons settings will reflect on their experiences and future priorities.

Afternoon session

Hands-on team exercises: Applying archetype analysis to the SES Library

Facilitators: Marty Anderies (Arizona State University) & Rimjhim Aggarwal (Arizona State University)

Participants will be divided into teams, with each team working on a family of entries from the SES library devoted to specific set of cases grouped according to particular resources.  The cases in the library are organized around the variables and relations identified in Ostrom’s IAD framework and robustness framework. Emerging patterns of variables and relations will be identified and will be used to describe archetypes of CPRs.

Synthesis and next steps

Each team will share their work and their learnings, and how they propose to apply archetype analysis to their future work. We will brainstorm ideas on how to use archetype analysis to leverage the full potential of the diversity of cases in the SES library to contribute towards new theory development and evidence based policy making.

Institutional Grammar

Organizers: Saba Siddiki (Syracuse University), Charlie Schweik (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Brenda Bushouse (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Edella Schlager (University of Arizona)

Duration: Whole day

The Institutional Grammar Working Group will host a whole day session, part of which will include a methods workshop and part of which will feature research presentations delivered through a conference panel format.

The Institutional Grammar is an increasingly prominent approach for understanding and analyzing institutions. It has been applied across a variety of institutional domains toward the study of important governance phenomenon, including institutional change, compliance, coerciveness, and legitimacy. All of these phenomena are of enduring interest in studies of collective action and commons governance.

More detailed descriptions of the proposed activities of the Institutional Grammar working group are provided below.

Institutional Grammar Training Workshop

The methods workshop, which will be open to all meeting participants, will offer a tutorial on the Institutional Grammar. During the tutorial, workshop participants will learn about the theoretical and methodological foundations of the Institutional Grammar, as well as have an opportunity to conduct hands on activities in which they will apply the Institutional Grammar to analyze the design of institutions taking the form of public policies. The methods workshop will be led by Drs. Saba Siddiki and Edella Schlager.

Institutional Grammar Panels

Eight-ten research presentations will be presented through two panels. Presented research will showcase applications of the Institutional Grammar, conveying its theoretical and methodological versatility. Relating to the former, the presentations will demonstrate how the Institutional Grammar can be leveraged toward the study and operationalization of governance concepts of interest to workshop participants, such as polycentricity and institutional robustness. Relating to the latter, the presentations will relay ways that the Institutional Grammar can be paired and/or integrated with various quantitative, qualitative, and computational methods to investigate governance phenomenon.

Taking Stock and Moving Forward: Exploring the Explanatory Potential of Polycentric Governance

Organizers: Liz Baldwin (University of Arizona), Mike McGinnis (Indiana University), Andreas Thiel (University of Kassel)

Duration: whole day

The concept of polycentric governance has become increasingly familiar in research and policy discourse on a wide range of policy settings, ranging from water governance to global climate change, and many points in between. The basic idea is that governance is a multilayered set of interrelated processes that work most effectively when they engage all relevant stakeholders (public officials, community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, and economic corporations) operating at multiple levels of aggregation to jointly accomplish their shared aspirations through diverse forms of contestation, cooperation, competition, and conflict resolution. Thus far, however, most invocations of this concept have been for purposes of description or normative advocacy; and even as empirical work on polycentric governance has progressed, considerable more work needs to be done to theorize about not only whether but also why polycentric governance might help with management of complex natural resource and other commons problems. In addition, the diverse research community interested in studying polycentricity has yet to articulate a shared body of knowledge, theory, concepts, and methods that would facilitate cross-case comparison, meta-analysis, and other methods of moving beyond case studies and accumulating generalizable knowledge. We think that the characteristics and processes associated with the concept of polycentric governance has unrealized potential to significantly contribute to the development and testing of causal (explanatory) theories and formal models of governance processes, in an as-yet unspecified array of policy settings, and wish to advance a theoretically-grounded, empirically rigorous research agenda on polycentric governance.

This workshop aims to engage interested parties from diverse disciplinary backgrounds in helping to advance this research agenda. Tentative schedule is as follows:

Morning Session: Taking Stock

Panel presentations: Taking stock of the empirical literature on polycentric governance

Roundtable on: Taking stock of the ‘research ingredients’ needed to make progress

This roundtable will focus on taking stock of the factors that led to progress in accumulating knowledge about governance in the commons, including the development of shared research frameworks and the establishment of the Digital Library of the Commons.

Afternoon Session: Moving Forward

Panel session on: Pushing forward theory on why and how does complex governance “work”?

Presenters in this session span research traditions that either explicitly or implicitly inform the study of polycentric governance, including multi-level governance, public participation, institutional economics, and network governance. Each presenter will provide and justify a list of 2-3 “important hypotheses” and discuss specifics about how these hypotheses might be operationalized and tested.

Facilitated discussion: next steps for moving forward

Breakout group discussion: bringing lessons from the study of the commons into the study of polycentricity

Facilitated discussion: Planning a working conference on polycentric governance at the Ostrom Workshop.

The day before the Workshop, on March 11, 2020, we will organize a tutorial by Dr. Marty Anderies, Arizona State University, about the Social-Ecological Systems Library. You will learn the basic functionality of the Library regarding the use of existing cases and how to enter your own cases. We will discuss how the database can and has been used to support existing research and working together to identify potential collaborations going forwards and how we might use the SES Library to build a community of practice. If you register for the Workshop, you can indicate whether you would like to participate in this.

The Morning session starts at 9:30am and runs till noon and is on Building Cases in the SES Library. The Afternoon session starts at 1.30pm till 3pm and is about Collaborative Research using the SES Library. The Location of the Pre-Workshop tutorial is ECA 101, the same as the Workshop described above.

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.

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