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Advancing Common Pool Resource Management in Heterogenious Groups

This forum aims at kicking-off and promoting an inter-disciplinary research collaboration between economists and social anthropologists at the University of Cologne. The long-term goal is to provide policy advice for managing the commons in the global South that is grounded in theory and pre-tested in the field.

Anthropological work generally provides a holistic view based on intensive case-studies through the researcher's participant observation and long-term involvement in the communities studied. While this is critical for achieving an integrated understanding and for identifying relevant mechanisms, the nature of this research leaves open to what extent generalizable conclusions can be drawn. Generalization calls for the formulation and testing of theories of human behavior, which is the core competency of behavioral economics. In doing so, this forum also answers the call for adding case studies to the toolbox of economics in order to improve the real-world relevance of economic analysis. Better appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of each discipline’s methodologies by working together not only advances research itself, but also aims at providing the ground for further inter-disciplinary research collaborations.

Combining the two research traditions of social anthropology and economics is promising and challenging at the same time. The forum will test-run such collaboration by studying human cooperation in community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) in Namibia, a setting which is vital for livelihoods. Here, the forum builds on extensive previous field work of Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig and Dr. Clemens Greiner on livelihoods, livestock, farming, and CBNRM.

Prof. Dr. Bettina Rockenbach, Staatswissenschaftliches Seminar
Dr. Arne Weiß, Staatswissenschaftliches Seminar für Experimentelle Wirtschafts- und Verhaltensforschung

Participating Researchers:
Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig, Institut für Ethnologie
Dr. Clemens Greiner, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology