This article concerns the dynamic process of resolving a commons dilemma without an externally imposed solution. We focus on two approaches: a model by Lewis and Cowens (1983) that yields a cooperative private arranghent that incorporates voluntarily chosen public institutions as instruments facilitating a resolution of the commons dilemma. The conditions necessary to Lewis and Cowen's result–a Itresolution without institutions–are contrasted with Ilinstitutional capacity” conditions treated as variables that may take on values enhancing the possibility of resolution. This latter approach yields certain advantages: less extreme assumptions, greater descriptive relevance, and the possibility of a variety of actual resolutions. A description of the case of West Basin in Southern California offers an example of the interaction of institutional capacity with participants' actions to produce a successful resolution of a commons dilemma.
Review of Policy Research – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 1985
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