Formal Institutions and the IAD Framework: Bringing the Law Back In
28 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2014 Last revised: 10 Sep 2014
Date Written: July 24, 2014
Elinor Ostrom's Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework is a widely used mechanism for diagnosing and assessing the institutional structures of social and social-ecological dilemmas. It has been described as "one of the most developed and sophisticated attempts to use institutional and stakeholder assessment in order to link theory and practice, analysis and policy." But not all elements in the framework are yet sufficiently well-developed. This paper focuses on one such element: the "rules-in-use" (a.k.a., "working rules"). Specifically, the paper begins a long overdue conversation about relations between formal legal rules and "working rules" by offering a tentative typology of relations. Type 1: Some formal legal rules equal or approximate the working rules; Type 2: Some legal rules plus widely-held social norms equal or approximate the working rules; and Type 3: Some legal rules bear no evident relation to the working rules. Several examples, including some previously used by Lin Ostrom, are provided to illustrate each of the three types, which can be conceived of as nodes (or ranges) on a continuum. The paper concludes with a call for empirical research into which of these types of relations is more common than the others in various circumstances.
Keywords: institutions, law, rules, IAD framework
JEL Classification: D7, H4, K4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation