We define the concept of a common-pool resource based on two attributes: the difficulty of excluding beneficiaries and the subtractability of use. We present similarities and differences among common-pool resources in regard to their ecological and institutional significance. The design principles that characterize long-surviving, delicately balanced resource systems governed by local rules systems are presented, as is a synthesis of the research on factors affecting institutional change. More complex biological resources are a greater challenge to the design of sustainable institutions, but the same general principles appear to carry over to more complex systems. We present initial findings from pilot studies in Uganda related to the effects of institutions on forest conditions.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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