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Dissertation zugänglich unter
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-83449
URL: http://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2017/8344/

A Threshold Hypothesis of Institutional Change: Collective Action in the Italian Alps during the 13th-19th Centuries

Eine Schwellenhypothese des institutionellen Wandels: Kollektive Aktion in den italienischen Alpen im 13.-19. Jahrhundert

Tagliapietra, Claudio

 Dokument 1.pdf (9.742 KB) 

Freie Schlagwörter (Deutsch): Institutioneller Wandel , Italien , Gemeinsame Ressourcen , Gruppengröße
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Institutional Change , Italy , Common Property Resources, Group Size
Basisklassifikation: 86.99 , 71.30 , 83.05 , 15:09 , 88.20
Institut: European Doctorate in Law & Economics (EDLE)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie, Anthropologie
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Hauptberichter: Casari, Marco (Prof. dr.)
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 02.12.2013
Erstellungsjahr: 2013
Publikationsdatum: 15.02.2017
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: This dissertation is about collective action issues in common property resources. Its focus is the “threshold hypothesis,” which posits the existence of a threshold in group size that drives the process of institutional change. This hypothesis is tested using a six-century dataset concerning the management of the commons by hundreds of communities in the Italian Alps. The analysis seeks to determine the group size threshold and the institutional changes that occur when groups cross this threshold. There are five main findings. First, the number of individuals in villages remained stable for six centuries, despite the population in the region tripling in the same period. Second, the longitudinal analysis of face-to-face assemblies and community size led to the empirical identification of a threshold size that triggered the transition from informal to more formal regimes to manage common property resources. Third, when groups increased in size, gradual organizational changes took place: large groups split into independent subgroups or structured interactions into multiple layers while maintaining a single formal organization. Fourth, resource heterogeneity seemed to have had no significant impact on various institutional characteristics. Fifth, social heterogeneity showed statistically significant impacts, especially on institutional complexity, consensus, and the relative importance of governance rules versus resource management rules. Overall, the empirical evidence from this research supports the “threshold hypothesis.” These findings shed light on the rationale of institutional change in common property regimes, and clarify the mechanisms of collective action in traditional societies. Further research may generalize these conclusions to other domains of collective action and to present-day applications.


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