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The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis



The Workshop, since its founding in 1973, has focused on research topics that are both wide and deep. The work in each of these research areas began as an informal working group made up of faculty, students, and visiting scholars. All of these areas have been intrinsically interdisciplinary in design and realization.

Although the diverse substantive topics covered by these research programs may appear to be unconnected, they share a common foundation in the realization that formal institutions, if they are to remain effective and sustainable, must be productively connected to more informal patterns of political, economic, and social life as well as to relevant characteristics of the physical and biological surroundings. This is the key insight behind the Workshop’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework.

Shahzeen Attari (IU–SPEA) collected data on public perceptions of water use to identify existing misperceptions. She is also investigating reasons for cooperating and defecting among real world social dilemmas (where private interests are at odds with collective interests, such as donating blood, buying green electricity etc.). Her work’s overarching theme is to understand human behavior related to resource use and how to encourage pro-social behaviors.

Abwoli Banana (Makerere University, Uganda). The Uganda Forestry Resources and Institutions Center (UFRIC) team, together with colleagues from IFRI-Kenya and IFRI-Ethiopia, assisted by Julie England from CIPEC/Ostrom Workshop, conducted an eight-week IFRI training course in July and August 2012. Fourteen students from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the United States attended the course, which was funded by the International Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) of Germany under the project: “Forest Landscapes, Institutions and Development in East Africa.” The UFRIC team, together with Carl Salk (Colorado University), Glenn Wright (University of Alaska), and colleagues from Poland, pretested the instruments and methodology to be used on an NSF-funded project entitled: “The Emergence of Adaptive Governance Arrangements for Tropical Forest Ecosystems” in July and August. Fieldwork for this project will be conducted in Uganda and Bolivia from June to September 2013. Dan Waiswa, together with the UFRIC team, conducted IFRI and PEN household data collection in Kapchorwa IFRI site in December 2012 under the project entitled “Adaptation of People to Climate Change in East Africa: Forest Ecosystem services, Risk Reduction and Human Well-Being” funded by Rockefeller and CIFOR.

Esther Blanco (Department of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck, Austria), Maria Claudia López (Michigan State University), and Jimmy Walker (IU) launched two new working papers investigating experimentally the role of marginal incentives, asymmetric incentives, and probabilistic resource degradation in common-pool resource settings. The two studies were supported by the project “Scarcity Shocks: Endowment and Marginal Effects” funded by the University of Innsbruck.

Jennifer N. Brass (IU–SPEA) conducted research with Lauren MacLean (IU-Political Science) in Kenya in June 2012 and with Elizabeth Baldwin (IU–SPEA) in May 2013 as part of the FRSP–funded project titled “Power for Development: Sustaining Small-Scale Electricity Implementation in Africa” with MacLean and Sanya Carley (IU–SPEA). The team also published “Power for Development: An Analysis of On-the-Ground Experiences of Distributed Generation in the Developing World” in the 2012 Annual Review of Environment and Resources. Brass is also working on a book manuscript about non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and states in the developing world. She was invited to present work on NGOs by Cornell University, University of Notre Dame, Duke University, and Syracuse University in 2012–13.

Eduardo Brondizio (IU–Anthropology) is one of 24 partner–PIs awarded a grant for the project DELTAS: Catalyzing action towards sustainability of deltaic systems with an integrated modeling framework for risk assessment from the National Science Foundation and the Belmont Forum, an international, interagency funding program on global environmental change and sustainability. The international collaborative project is led by Efi Foufoula-Georgiou from the University of Minnesota. Project activities will begin September 1, 2013.

At the request of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), Anantha Duraiappah, Stanley Asah, Eduardo Brondizio, Lori Hunter, Nicholas Kosoy, Anne-Helene Prieur-Richard, and Sunnetha Subramaniam prepared an article discussing the contribution of the social sciences to the achievement of the “Aichi targets” established in 2010 at the tenth COP of the CBD.

In collaboration with colleagues from France and Brazil, Brondizio is contributing to incorporate institutional analysis using the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) and Social-Ecological System (SES) frameworks into the second phase of the DURAMAZ project (acronym for sustainable development in the Amazon) supported by the French research agency (ANR). The research protocol was successfully tested and applied during fieldwork in summer 2013. Three doctoral students (France and Brazil) associated with the project will be coming as visiting scholars to the Ostrom Workshop and ACT during the Fall of 2013.

Juan-Camilo Cardenas (Department of Economics, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia) has been conducting field experiments on how rice farmers in Colombia address their collective action challenges when facing global changes. He is also training a team of researchers to replicate these experiments in Thailand, Nepal, as part of a collaboration in a research project coordinated from Arizona State University by Marty Anderies and Marco Janssen, and in collaboration with Ganesh Shivakoti (AIT Thailand). He is also starting a project with Ruth Meinzen-Dick (IFPRI) to explore how field experiments may have a pedagogical impact in the attitudes and behavior of water resource users who participate in these economic games. These experiments are being conducted in India and Colombia in collaboration with Marco Janssen (ASU), Nathan Rollins (ASU), and FES (India), among others. Juan-Camilo is also working on a large project that involves a random intervention in Mali to implement better sanitation practices to reduce open defecation and is using economic experiments to explore if the levels of cooperation and pro-social behavior may explain the success of the intervention.

Sanya Carley (IU–SPEA) was a recipient of Indiana University’s 2013 Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, an honor given by the Office of the Vice Provost to five junior scholars from across the university each year. She also published several articles on electric vehicles, US state energy policy, energy-based economic development, and carbon capture and storage.

Daniel Cole (IU–Maurer School of Law & SPEA) has published two new articles, “Law, Politics, and Cost-Benefit Analysis” (Alabama Law Review) and “The Varieties of Comparative Institutional Analysis” (symposium issue, Wisconsin Law Review). This year, he has made presentations at Florida State University; the University of Minnesota; the “Eco-summit” in Columbus, OH; the annual meeting of the Society for Environmental Law & Economics (SELE) at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv; a conference on shared responsibility in international law at the University of Amsterdam; and the annual meeting of the International Society for New Institutional Economics (ISNIE) in Florence, Italy. He is currently working on various research projects ranging from the history of water law in Kenya to environmental taxation in China. In addition, he is in the process of coediting with Mike McGinnis (IU) a four-volume collection of major papers by (and about the work of) Elinor Ostrom for Routledge. He and Burney Fischer (IU) recently received an interdisciplinary teaching grant by IU to teach an undergraduate honors course in “Rules, Games, and Society”—focused on the work of the Ostroms and the Workshop—in Spring 2014.

Aurelian Craiutu (IU–Political Science) has been actively pursuing his research agenda on political moderation after the publication of the first volume (A Virtue for Courageous Minds, Princeton, 2012). He is now starting work on a sequel exploring the idea of political moderation in twentieth-century political thought, under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press. He has also been active directing the Tocqueville Program at IU, which featured a wide array of speakers on topics ranging from Tocqueville and slavery to Latin American political thought and the Condorcet’s writings on America. During the 2013–14 academic year, the Tocqueville Program will host a special year-long series on Capitalism and Its Critics, featuring major speakers such as Deirdre McCloskey, Alan Ryan, and Jerry Muller, and ending (in April 2014) with a roundtable on the legacy of the Bloomington school founded by Elinor and Vincent Ostrom.

Sue Crawford (Department of Political Science & International Relations, Creighton University, Omaha, NE) began her first term as a state senator of Nebraska in January 2013. Ostrom Workshop issues such as water management, federalism, institutional choices, and self-governance abound.

Salvador Espinosa (School of Public Affairs, San Diego State University) is conducting research on three areas: cross-border finance and institutions, fiscal federalism, and behavioral law and economics. He recently published an article comparing bond market rules in Mexico and the United States (“On the Feasibility of a Bi-National Mechanism of Bond Financing”). Two additional manuscripts are forthcoming: “On Sub-National Bond Market Development: What Drives the Yield Spreads of Mexican Cebures? (prepublication version in Spanish), and “Informal Budgeting Mechanisms and the Expenditure Response to Revenue Sharing Transfers: Evidence from the State of Baja California, Mexico” (prepublication version). Salvador is currently working on a manuscript that uses the institutional grammar approach to analyze regulatory effectiveness.

Tom Evans (IU–Geography), Paul McCord (IU–Geography), Michael Cox (Dartmouth), and Camille Washington-Ottombre (Oberlin College) conducted six weeks of fieldwork in Kenya from June to July 2012 as part of the NSF project titled “Institutional Dynamics in Robust Social-Ecological Systems: Adaption to Climate Change in Snowmelt-Dependent Agricultural Systems” with Krister Andersson (University of Colorado), Kelly Caylor (Princeton University), and Daniel Cole (IU). With new post-doctoral scholar Jampel Dell’Angelo, further data collection is planned for June–September 2013 in Kenya and Colorado that will contribute to models of water governance and climate change. Evans, Caylor, Jacob Schumacher (IU–Geography), and Sean Sweeney (IU–CIPEC/Workshop) conducted research on agricultural decision making, labor exchange, and food security in rural Zambia ( This project is linking climatological analysis, crop modeling, and household-level survey data to investigate how formal and informal social arrangements contribute to community-level resilience to climate change.

James Farmer (IU–Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies) studies private land conservation and sustainable agriculture ( Farmer is currently collaborating with Michael Drescher (University of Waterloo) on exploratory research to comprehend participation variables in state/province tax incentivized land conservation programs. Additionally, Farmer is working with Tatyana Ruseva (Appalachian State University) and Charles Chancellor (Clemson University) to understand the role social capital plays in land trust board of directors and their capacity in meeting the land trust’s mission and achieving conservation goals. Recently, Farmer concluded a study on the facilitators and constraints to organic production and certification in West Virginia.

Burnell Fischer (IU–Ostrom Workshop & SPEA): At the Bloomington Urban Forestry Research Group (BUFRG), we study the urban forest as a social-ecological system, a conceptualization that enables researchers and managers to better understand the factors that influence sustainable urban forest outcomes and provision of ecosystem services. We were awarded a 2012 US Forest Service National Urban Community and Forestry Advisory Council grant, “Trees and People: A Two-Way Street,” for $173,206. The 3-year grant includes five partner community organizations (Greening of Detroit, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Missouri Releaf, and Trees Atlanta) and the national Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees). Pilot studies on the trees/people interactions in neighborhood tree-planting projects continue in Indianapolis.

Ajay Mehrotra (IU–Law & History) and Isaac Martin (UC–San Diego, Sociology) have been awarded a Social Science Research Council grant to conduct graduate student workshops as part of the SSRC’s Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship program. They will conduct two workshops during 2013 on the topic of “Public Finance and Society: The New Historical Fiscal Sociology.” Mehrotra has also completed his book project, Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877–1929, which will be published in fall 2013 by Cambridge University Press.

Mike McGinnis (IU–Political Science). During his recently completed sabbatical leave, Mike served as Visiting Faculty at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, with appointments at both The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. He was a member of the Initial Planning Team for a region-wide initiative to reform the system of health care delivery in the bi-state Upper Valley region surrounding Hanover. This action-research project is sponsored by the above-named center and institute as well as the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the ReThink initiative of the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation. Mike’s contributions focus on the working group for Health Stewardship Design, which is chaired by Steve Voigt, president and CEO of King Arthur Floor. An all-day initial public convening of more than 60 community leaders was held on April 30, and a follow-up meeting is scheduled for August 29, 2013.

Mike helped prepare and deliver a recently completed eight-week online distance learning course, with more than 150 paying participants, entitled ReThinking Health: Leadership Essentials in a Changing System. Module 5: Fostering Stewardship was based on his working paper “Caring for the Health Commons: What It Is and Who’s Responsible For It?”. He gave a more informal version of this talk at the May 17 meeting of the Colorado Healthcare Management and Strategy Group in Denver. That talk was somewhat misleadingly entitled “Grand Junction Healthcare System: A Model for the Nation, in Our Own Backyard.”

Now back home in Bloomington, IN, he is teaching two graduate seminars this fall, including the core introduction to the Bloomington School of institutional analysis pioneered by Vincent and Elinor Ostrom. In spring 2014, he will be teaching undergraduate lecture courses on two unrelated areas of public policy: national security and health care. He will continue his research on health policy, but with less emphasis on practical applications. He enjoyed his experience at Dartmouth, but this opportunity reminded him of how much work remains to be done for scholars to fully understand the complexities of our contemporary system of health care delivery, and the full range of potential reforms that could be considered.

Amy Poteete (Department of Political Science, Concordia University, Montreal) is nearing the end of 11 months of research in Senegal as part of a project titled “Electoral Competition, Natural Resource Policy, and Political Development in Africa.” The project, which is supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), investigates interactions between spatial and temporal variation in electoral competition and the sensitivity of government strategies for natural resource management to local conditions.

Justin Ross (IU–SPEA) has published several articles examining the relationship between tax administration and the democratic process: (1) “Property Taxes and Polycentricity” appeared in a special volume published by the Upton Forum dedicated to Elinor Ostrom, (2) “Are Community-Nuisance Fiscal Zoning Arrangements Undermined by State Property Tax Reforms? Evidence from Nuclear Power Plants and School Finance Equalization” appears in Land Economics, and (3) “Fiscal Illusion from Property Reassessment?” was the lead article in the National Tax Journal.

Rinku Roy Chowdhury (IU–Geography) is conducting field and analytical research on the vulnerability and resilience of socio-ecological systems through four research projects funded by NASA and NSF. In Bangladesh, she is investigating coastal livelihoods and natural resource dependence in a region exposed to climate shocks (e.g., tropical cyclones) and political-economic change (e.g., through linkages with global markets), and the impacts of these changes on the carbon dynamics of the Sundarbans mangrove forests. This work is funded by NASA’s Carbon Cycle Science program. In a distinct project funded by NASA’s Land Cover Land Use Change (LCLUC) program, Roy Chowdhury is working at a larger scale to advance comparative analysis of geographically differentiated drivers of mangrove vulnerability in the Americas.

In addition, Roy Chowdhury is investigating the urban ecological and institutional dynamics of land use decisions and cover outcomes in two research projects funded by NSF’s Macrosystems Biology and Long-Term Ecological research (LTER) programs. The first of these projects (see investigates whether and how social and institutional processes of urbanization in the US lead to homogenization in ecological structure and functions (arguably evidenced in the ubiquitous “American lawn”), with potential continental scale implications. A second project on urban ecology and landscape change is part of her ongoing collaboration with the Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) LTER Program ( Roy Chowdhury co-leads the Climate and Disturbance Legacies and Water Policy cross-cutting themes in FCE-LTER, which focus on the legacies of wetland conversion to urban and agricultural land uses, the complexity and impacts of water governance in south Florida, and resulting shifts in water demand and socio-ecological system vulnerability in the greater Everglades watershed. She received an Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from IU in 2013.

Filippo Sabetti (Department of Political Science, McGill University, Montreal) is continuing his fieldwork and data analysis as part of the SSHRC-funded project “Creative Artisanship: the evolution of collective action and mechanisms of self-governance in Italy’s past.” He and colleague Bruce Haddock (Cardiff University) have just completed the annotated edition of Vincenzo Cuoco’s classic 1801 work, Historical Essay on the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799, which, once published, merits to be read alongside Tocqueville’s The Old Regime and the French Revolution. On May 7, 2013, there was a book launch in Milan of a new collection of essays on the political theory of Carlo Cattaneo. Phil has a chapter in the book appropriately entitled “Cattaneo, Tocqueville and the Ostrom Workshop.”

Michael Schoon (School of Sustainability, Arizona State University) is working with Michael Cox (Dartmouth) and Forrest Fleischman (Syracuse) to coordinate the Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database project that seeks to scale up theories developed primarily in small-scale CPR situations to large-scale systems. This project has sponsored two workshops (at ASU and Dartmouth) and is in the process of aggressively populating the database to facilitate future quantitative analyses. Schoon is also editing a book with Oonsie Biggs (Stellenbosch University) and Maja Schlueter (Stockholm Resilience Centre) on enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services. This includes new theoretical work on polycentricity.

M. Nazif Shahrani (IU–Anthropology; Central Asian & Middle Eastern Studies) published an article on “Center-Periphery Relations in Afghanistan,” in Local Politics in Afghanistan, edited by Conrad Schetter (London: Hurst Publishers, 2013). He presented a paper on “An Eleventh Century Muslim Theory of Governance for the Twenty First Century Global Peace” at the International Symposium on Religious Studies and Global Peace, organized by Faculty of Theology, Necmettin Erbakan University, Konya, Turkey, May 16–18, 2013. Also, he briefly visited Ulupamir Koyu village in Van province, eastern Turkey, in late May 2013, where a small community of Kirghiz high-altitude pastoral nomads from Afghanistan, whom he had studied in early 1970s, have been resettled as refugees since 1982. The Afghan Kirghiz tragedy of repeated dislocations and extraordinarily successful adaptations—as individuals, families and a community—to the radically and rapidly changing ecological conditions in Turkey has been part of his longitudinal ethnographic research program focusing on human adaptive resilience.

Verlon Stone (IU–Liberian Collections): The IULC completed digitizing the Svend E. Holsoe Collection’s Liberian Government Archives with documents spanning 1828–1981. The project received a $5,600 grant from the Cooperative Africana Materials Project and Title VI National Resource Centers for Africa, administered by the Center for Research Libraries in addition to funds provided by the IU African Studies Program. In December 2012, the IULC completed a $100,000 World Bank-funded project through the Liberian National Archives to design, install, and configure a state-of-the digitization facility to preserve and make Liberian land deed registers dating from 1830 publicly accessible.

Catherine Tucker (IU–Anthropology) conducted three weeks of research during summer 2013 with a team of Honduran researchers to study the impacts of organic and shade grown certifications on coffee producers’ household economy, livelihoods, and local environmental conditions. The research in Honduras is part of a larger three-year comparative, interdisciplinary project being conducted collaboratively with researchers in Mexico (Hallie Eakin, Arizona State University; Juan F. Barrera, ECOSUR), Guatemala (Edwin Castellanos, University del Valle) and Costa Rica (Rafael Diaz, National University of Costa Rica). In June 2013, Tucker presented a paper at the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) in Kitafuji, Japan, and participated in a meeting at SESYNC (University of MD) led by Arun Agrawal to examine future directions for the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) research program. Her recent articles discuss results of research with coffee producers, and appear in Environment, Development and Sustainability and Environmental Science and Policy.

Tommaso Vitale (Department of Sociology, Sciences Po Paris, FRANCE) has received a grant from the Direction Scientifique de Sciences Po to conduct research on local public policies and self-governance strategies in trajectories of upward social mobility and social integration of Roma migrants in France. It is being studied through ego network analysis techniques. A frame of institutional analysis and development is used to analyze and compare resources and constraints produce by local policies. Intermediate results have been (and will be) discussed with several municipal authorities in France, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as at the European level. On a different subject, a large program of research on the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) of environmental problems and innovations in the fast-growing Asian metropolis has been launched, and am currently seeking funding to develop the network and compare governance modes.

Jimmy Walker (IU–Economics) has been working on several research projects with Ostrom Workshop colleagues Esther Blanco (University of Innsbruck) and Maria Claudia Lopez (Michigan State University). This collaboration has led to two working papers: “Appropriation in the Commons: Variations in the Opportunity Costs of Conservation” and “Tensions between the Resource Damage and the Private Benefits of Appropriation in the Commons.” In addition, they recently received funding from the University of Zurich for a new project entitled, “Resource Degradation and Ecosystem Services in Common Pool Resources: Behavior in Controlled Experiments.” This project will include both lab and field experiments. In spring 2013, Jimmy also took on the interim administrative position of Director of the Social Science Research Commons, a new research facility located in Woodburn Hall to facilitate social science research on the Bloomington campus.