Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Role of Common-Pool Resources’ Institutional Robustness in a Collective Action Dilemma under Environmental Variations.

Version 1 : Received: 21 September 2020 / Approved: 22 September 2020 / Online: 22 September 2020 (09:33:26 CEST)

How to cite: Dipierri, A.A.; Zikos, D. The Role of Common-Pool Resources’ Institutional Robustness in a Collective Action Dilemma under Environmental Variations.. Preprints 2020, 2020090514 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0514.v1). Dipierri, A.A.; Zikos, D. The Role of Common-Pool Resources’ Institutional Robustness in a Collective Action Dilemma under Environmental Variations.. Preprints 2020, 2020090514 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0514.v1).

Abstract

Extreme environmental variations (EV), as a phenomenon deriving from climate change (CC), led to an exacerbated uncertainty on water availability and increased the likelihood of conflicts regarding water-dependent activities such as agriculture. In this paper, we investigate the role of conflict resolution mechanisms -one of Ostrom’s acclaimed Design Principles (DPs)- when social-ecological systems (SESs) are exposed to physical external disturbances. The theoretical propositions predict that SESs with conflict-resolution-mechanisms will perform better than those without them. We tested this proposition through a framed-field-experiment that mimicked an irrigation system. In this asymmetric setting, farmers were exposed to two (2) dilemmas: (i) how much to invest in the communal irrigation system’s (CIS) maintenance and (ii) how much water to extract. The setting added a layer of complexity: water availability did not only depend on the investment but also on the environmental variability. Our findings largely confirmed the theoretical proposition: groups with stronger institutional robustness are able to cope with EV better than those with weaker robustness. However, we also found that some groups, despite lacking conflict-resolution-mechanisms, were also able to address EV. We explored potential explanatory variables to these unexpected results. We found that subjects’ and groups’ attributes might address uncertainty and avert conflict. Thus, SESs’ capacity to respond to external disturbances, such as EV, might not only be a question of DPs. Instead, it might also be strongly related to group members' attributes and group dynamics. Our results pave the way for further research, hinting that some groups might be better equipped for mitigation measures, while others might be better equipped for adaptation measures.

Subject Areas

Irrigation systems; common-pool resource management; environmental variability; collective action; institutional robustness

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