Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Access rules. The rules governing terms and conditions under which individuals and groups enjoy access to a good such as any type of renewable resource.

Collective decision-making rules. The rules by which collectivizes (villages, nations, special purpose jurisdictions, etc.) make decisions that are binding upon their members.

Common pool goods. A good (or resource) from which it is difficult to exclude potential consumers and that is subject to subtractive and potentially rivalries consumption. Many products of community forests (firewood nuts, medicinal products) tall in the category of common pool goods.

Common property resources. Renewable natural resources such as tree products pastures and fisheries that have the characteristics of common pool resources but to which access is controlled in some fashion: typically some constraints on harvesting are also enforced by the group or unit that governs and manages the resource,

Constitution. The fundamental rules of any institution that exercises governmental powers (rule-making, applying and enforcing rules dispute resolution, etc.). The different kinds of governance bodies that may have constitutions include nations village communities and regions: water-use, pasture and forest governance groups: cooperatives: and religious and ritual organizations. To be affective constitutions do not necessarily need to be written or approved by some state governing body.

Constitutional rules. The fundamental rules of any institution that exercises governmental powers (rule-making and application and enforcement power dispute resolution etc.), including but not limited to tile nation: village communities, regions, water user, pasture and woodstock governance groups, as well as cooperatives, religious and ritual organizations, etc.,. all have constitutions in this sense. Constitutional rules need not necessarily lie written nor need they be approved by some overlapping; government, i.e. the State, to be effective.

Controlled access. Describes a situation in which access to a particular renew able resource e.g. a village woodlot is effectively controlled so that those responsible for managing the woodlot know who can have access to it when and under what conditions.

Feasibility of exclusion. The ease or difficulty of preventing others from getting access to renewable resources such as pastures, fisheries, forests or irrigated agricultural land. Ease or difficulty are a function of the location of the resource physical possibilities of access, availability and affordability of fencing, etc.

Formal rules. Those which are typically made by an officially recognized unit or agency of government. Usually such rules are written down and legitimated through some formal process of decision-making.

Governance. The way power is used to make and implement collective decisions, enforce rules and resolve conflicts. All these activities clearly allocate values (power, control over resources, etc.) that people consider important.

Incentive. Any source of positive or negative motivation that influences someone's behaviour. Economic incentives tend to be calculated in terms of prices or time; legal incentives are incorporated in rules that authorize, compel or prohibit certain kinds of behaviour.

Institution. The rules that govern a specific activity of a group or organization, as well as the behaviour of people in that activity. A forestry school, an operating tree nursery, or policing of a forested area are examples of forestry institutions.

Institutional analysis. The examination of a set of rules, or institutional arrangements, typically with the goal of identifying rule-based incentives that encourage various actors to behave in ways that create problems for others, e.g. when foresters systematically fail to apply existing forestry legislation and administrative rules.

Institutional arrangements. Combinations of rules (whether operational, collective decision-making or constitutional rules) that establish a set of legal permissions (liberties), authorizations (rights) and commands specifying certain acts or behaviour that individuals must or must not carry out (duties). Forestry legislation, a forestry code, or non-formal taboos that affect how people use forest resources are all examples of institutional arrangements within the forestry sector.

Joint consumption. Consumption of a good or service that does not reduce the amount available to others who might want to use the same good or service; i.e. the product does not get 'used up' as it is consumed.

Non-formal rules. Those which are not officially recognized, frequently not written down (although there are many exceptions) and usually produced by people through a decision-making process that, again, is not officially recognized. 'Traditional', 'customary', and 'indigenous' institutional arrangements regulating access to and use of forested areas and their products are typically non-formal rules.

Non-working rules. Those which are not applied and enforced, so that they do not create incentives for behaviour. Such rules may be either formal in origin, e.g. laws produced by governments that end up as dead letters', or non-formal rules that have fallen into disuse and are no longer applied and enforced.

Open access resource. A resource over which no controls on access are applied. In such cases, any one can get to the resource at any time and do anything the individual pleases.

Operational rules. The rules that determine what individuals are authorized and required to do and what they are prohibited from doing in a given situation.

Private goods. Goods (and services) from which is it easy to exclude potential consumers. Consumption is subtractive (what one person consumes is no longer available for others) and potentially rivalrous.

Public goods. Goods (and services) from which it is difficult to exclude potential consumers. Consumption is joint and non-rivalrous.

Rules systems. Sets of rules, or institutional arrangements, that are meant to affect behaviour. One might find in a country, for example, several formal national rules systems intended to regulate access to and use of forest, fishery and pastoral resources; non-formal rule systems might also affect behaviour concerning these resources. Such systems may contradict and sometimes conflict with each other; which are working rules and which are non-working rules is an empirical question that can be answered only by observing people and asking why they do what they do.

Stakeholders. Individuals, groups or institutions that have an interest in an area or activity. Farmers who have trees on their lands, woodcutters, foresters and pastoralists who feed their herds in part with leafy forage might all be stakeholders in a decision to change the terms and conditions on which these various groups have access to trees on farmers' fields.

Subtractive consumption. Consumption of a good that prevents another person from using the same good; i.e. the person 'uses up' the resource - or subtracts from the total available - by consuming it.

Toll goods. Goods (and services) from which is it easy to exclude potential consumers. Consumption is joint and non-rivalrous.

Transactions costs. The time, effort and monetary costs involved in obtaining a decision. If, for example, disputes over infractions of forestry rules can be resolved in the community where they occur, the transactions costs are likely to be minimal. If on the other hand such conflicts can only be resolved by foresters, before whom plaintiffs and defendants must assemble (often in a location far from the community where the alleged infraction occurred), then transactions costs of resolving the dispute are likely to be considerably higher.

Working rules. Those which are applied and enforced, so that they effectively create incentives for or against specific kinds of behaviour. The term was introduced by John R. Commons.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page