Connecting commons and the IAD framework

Authored by: Michael D. McGinnis

Routledge Handbook of the Study of the Commons

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138060906
eBook ISBN: 9781315162782
Adobe ISBN:


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The Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework provided the analytical foundation upon which Elinor Ostrom built a research program on community-based management of natural resources. For that work she was named a co-recipient of the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. She was also the primary driving force behind the initial development and subsequent revisions of the IAD framework, which remains one of the most prominent theoretical perspectives in scholarly research on public policy (Weible and Sabatier 2018; Cole and McGinnis 2017). Although she makes no explicit use of IAD in her highly influential 1990 book, Governing the Commons, she does use an informal discussion of its basic components to frame her mode of analysis (Ostrom 1990, 45–57). In later work Ostrom (2005, 2010) more fully articulates the broad scope of this analytical framework, which she envisioned as a means whereby scholars from multiple disciplines could more effectively communicate with each other, as they used diverse perspectives to better understand complex policy settings.

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