Sunday, May 30, 2010

Working Together

Earlier this month the book that I wrote with Amy Poteete and Elinor Ostrom got published with Princeton University Press. We started this book project around 2004 when Lin Ostrom suggested to bring together the various writings on methods she did with me and Amy separately into a book that discuss the practical challenges in working with multiple methods. Amy was a postdoc at Indiana University where she coordinated the IFRI program, which mainly deals with field research. The book is build upon earlier publications but completely rewritten to make it one coherent monograph on a multi-methods approach.
We discuss the practical and institutional challenges in using multiple methods in practice such as field work, experiments and agent-based modeling, especially in relation to collective action and the commons. In Chapter 9 of the book we discuss a comprehensive theoretical framework of the current understanding of collective action and the commons.
In multi, inter and transdisciplinary programs in relation to natural resource management there is a challenge what kind of methods students need to learn. The book do not provide a traditional introduction to each method, but focuses on the pros and cons of the different methods so it may facilitate collaborations across methods. The book is already planned to be used in various graduate courses.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Science paper


In the Science edition of April 30, a paper of mine appeared on my work on experiments of social-ecological systems. We introduce our experimental environment (see a screenshot in the Figure) that includes relevant ecological spatial and temporal complexity that allows us to test observations from field studies in controlled settings. In contrast to traditional economic experiments participants need to make many decisions during each four minute period while the environment is changing real-time.
Although the experiments are done with undergraduate students, it enables us to test the consequences of a more comprehensive experimental environment. We do not aim to provide a solution to governance of social-ecological systems in general as some criticasters may imply. We show that in our more comprehensive environment costly santioning has no possitive effect at all. However, cheap talk has a strong possitive and long lasting effective, although we are not sure the precise reason for this.
We hope that this study will stimulate a tighter connection between field work and experiments, as well as a focus on understanding the role of communication.