Can we avoid the tragedy of the commons without social capital? A field study using the IAD framework in the Dragoslavele communal village

by David Diaconu, Adelin Dumitru,

In this article, we use the Institutional Analysis and Development framework in order to assess the state of the commons and of the organizational form known as Obştea Moşnenilor in a communal village from Romania, Dragoslavele. We employ the design principles proposed by Ostrom in order to show how a critical juncture, the imposition of the communist regime, changed the operational rules-in-use. After it was dismantled in 1949, the obşte was reestablished in 2000 and most of the formal rules have been adopted in their original form. However, the circumstances in which the obşte operated had changed during the communist regime. Some of the most significant changes that occurred during this period and during the transition period had been the deterioration of the social capital and the fact that the villagers had ceased to rely on the commons as the main income-source. We assess the state of the commons and whether collective action problems are solved in the obşte by resorting to the design principles proposed by Ostrom in her evaluation of the institutions that govern common-pool resources. We conclude that respecting those 8 design principles to a certain degree does not suffice in the absence of social capital, and that the Dragoslavele obşte cannot be considered a robust institution according to our definition (we consider an institution to be robust if it is able to avoid the tragedy of the commons).

published in Vol 17 - No 1 - 2017 // General issue
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  • Larry Diamond Stanford University
  • Tom Gallagher University of Bradford
  • Alena Ledeneva University College London
  • Michael McFaul Stanford University
  • Philippe Schmitter Stanford University
  • Helen Wallace London School of Economics and Political Science

Published by:

Societatea Academica Romana