Natural resource management: the role of cooperative institutions and governance

Issues: Volume 2, Issue 1
Authors: Konrad Hagedorn

There are two major discourses on cooperatives and cooperative organizations. One deals with cooperatives for product marketing, inputs, credit, housing, consumers and similar voluntary associations. The other focuses on collective action in the area of provision and management of natural resources, which is gaining in importance due to increasing resource degradation and scarcity. One of the main differences between these two types of cooperative is that the first uses resources artificially pooled by people, while the second uses pools of natural resources that pre-existed the cooperative, which are used by applying appropriate technologies and adding the necessary infrastructure. As the commons literature demonstrates, however, cooperative organization or natural resource management will only lead to successful and sustainable social construction for natural resources if a set of crucial conditions are fulfilled. After discussing two analytical frameworks, the paper presents four cases of institutional analysis of social-ecological systems. They show that actors’ interdependence caused by the attributes of nature-related transactions plays a crucial role in institutional choice and the feasibility of collective action in natural resource management.

Keywords: COOPERATIVE ENTERPRISES; NATURAL RESOURCES PROVISION AND MANAGEMENT; COMMONS
JEL classification: D71; L3; Q0
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5947/jeod.2013.006
About authors: Konrad Hagedorn    Download .PDF