Mapping ostrom’s common-pool resource systems coding handbook to the coupled infrastructure systems framework to enable comparative research

Michael J. Bernstein, Maria Del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, Madeline Tyson, Ute Brady, Cathy Alida Rubiños, Hoon Cheol Shin, Sechindra Vallury, Skaidra Smith-Heisters, Elicia Ratajczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the study of common-pool resource (CPR) governance, frameworks provide a metatheoretical language to describe system states, dynamics, elements, and relationships. The coding manuals which accompany CPR frame-works–in addition to providing guidelines for connecting empirical case work to conceptual variables–define a vocabulary of coding questions. For empirical work, connecting variables and coding questions with framework elements contributes to conceptual advance. In the process of analysis and publication, it is tempting to offer a novel framework without also developing, applying, or modifying the foundational questions and variables of coding manuals buttressing said frameworks. However, if the scholarly community is to generate robust knowledge for the study of CPR dilemmas, we must provide the underlying work of comparing across frameworks. In this paper, we report on one way the community might conduct such comparisons. We present results and challenges of using a group consensus process to link the more than 450 coding questions derived from the original Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IADF) to the recently proposed Coupled Infrastructure Systems Framework (CISF). Despite overlap, discrepancies in the conceptual positions of the IADF and CISF suggest a need to modify or create new coding variables related to concepts of system boundaries, externalities, cross-scale interactions, multi-functionality, and technological change. We suggest that such work needs provisioning if commons scholars are to navigate the continued challenges of tailoring frameworks and coding manuals to evolving CPR governance dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-552
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of the Commons
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Igitur, Utrecht Publishing and Archiving Services. All rights reserved.


  • CPR frameworks
  • CPR governance
  • Common-pool resources
  • Infrastructure
  • Institutional analysis and development framework
  • Qualitative coding methods
  • Research design


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