Threat to Common-Pool Resources and the Importance of Forums: On the Emergence of Cooperation in CPR Problem Settings

Herzog, Laura M.; Ingold, Karin (2019). Threat to Common-Pool Resources and the Importance of Forums: On the Emergence of Cooperation in CPR Problem Settings. Policy studies journal, 47(1), pp. 77-113. Wiley 10.1111/psj.12308

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This paper focuses on cooperation among organizations in a common-pool resource (CPR) problem situation. Cooperation is particularly challenging in settings where resource degradation is produced by a variety of different sectors and parts of the population; and where the problem, as well as public responsibilities, transcend borders and jurisdictions. Focusing on transboundary water quality management in the Rhine catchment area, we ask: What drives two actors in a CPR problem situation to cooperate with each other? We argue that the degree of threat to a CPR is an important driver for collective action, and focus on actors’ exposure to and perception of a threat to a CPR. Furthermore, we rely on applications of the ecology of games framework (EGF), taking into account the larger institutional context of CPR management. This allows us to test whether actors’ participation in forums, such as regional and international water body associations, helps to overcome the CPR problem by further enhancing interactions among actors. Based on survey data and applying advanced network statistics (exponential random graph models [ERGM]), we conclude that although problem exposure is one factor that enhances joint cooperation, participation in forums plays an even bigger role for cooperation in a CPR problem setting. Our study contributes to research on cooperation in CPR problem settings, highlights the need to more systematically include the effects that CPR problems have on actors when analyzing CPR problem settings, and stresses the function of forums as triggers for cooperation in CPR problem situations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Herzog, Laura Mae Jacqueline and Ingold, Karin Mirjam


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science








Laura Mae Jacqueline Herzog

Date Deposited:

08 Apr 2019 17:50

Last Modified:

27 Oct 2019 10:04

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

CPR problem, cooperation, problem perception, ecology of games, water quality management, micro-pollutants, SNA, ERGM




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