body bg


Transaction costs, collective action and adaptation in managing complex social–ecological systems

  • Year: 2013
  • Author: Marshall, G.
  • Journal Name: Ecological Economics
  • Journal Number: Vol.88
  • Country: Australia

With the escalating uncertainties and surprises faced in responding to environmental and natural resource challenges has come growing recognition of the need to manage such issues as social–ecological systems and value the capacities that enable adaptation to these changes. Adaptations in environmental management often involve complex, including wicked, problems of collective action. Institutions introduced to reduce the transaction costs of solving these problems do not come for free.

A cost effectiveness framework designed to provide a comprehensive and logical structure for economic evaluation of path dependent institutional choices in this context, and a procedure for boundedly rational empirical application of the framework, are proposed and illustrated in this article — including for the choice between water buy-back and infrastructure upgrade programmes for accumulating the ‘environmental water’ needed to sustain the ecosystems of Australia's Murray–Darling Basin. Also outlined is a research strategy designed to help identify the heuristics needed for application of this procedure.

Related Items

Impacts of unconventional gas development on rural community decline

In this paper we look at the impacts of a new industry, namely unconventional gas, on rural...


This study develops estimates of current and future water usage in the Pilbara. This information...

Share this with your friends

Footer Logo

Contact Us

Level 2, 53 Blackall Street
Barton ACT 2600
Telephone: 02 6260 3733
or email us