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Hardcover | $15.75 Short | £13.95 | 400 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 5 figures, 8 tables | August 2008 | ISBN: 9780262240574
Paperback | $35.00 Short | £27.95 | 400 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 5 figures, 8 tables | August 2008 | ISBN: 9780262740333
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Institutions and Environmental Change

Principal Findings, Applications, and Research Frontiers


Studies show that institutions play a role both in causing and in addressing problems arising from human-environment interactions. But the nature of this role is complex and not easily described. This book presents an overview of recent research on how institutions matter in efforts to tackle such environmental problems as the loss of biological diversity, the degradation of forests, and the overarching issue of climate change. Using the tools of the “new institutionalism” in the social sciences, the book treats institutions as sets of rights, rules, and decision-making procedures.

Individual chapters present research findings and examine policy implications regarding questions of causality, performance, and institutional design as well as the themes of institutional fit (or misfit), interplay, and scale. Institutions and Environmental Change is the product of a decade-long international research project on the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC) carried out under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme. The book’s policy insights demonstrate that research on institutions can provide the basis for practical advice on effective ways to deal with the most pressing environmental problems of our times.

Contributors: Frank Biermann, Carl Folke, Victor Galaz, Thomas Gehring, Joyeeta Gupta, Thomas Hahn, Leslie A. King, Ronald B. Mitchell, Sebastian Oberthür, Per Olsson, Heike Schroeder, Uno Svedin, Simon Tay, Arild Underdal, Oran R. Young.

About the Editors

Oran R. Young is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Institutional Dynamics: Emergent Patterns in International Environmental Governance (MIT Press) and other books.

Leslie A. King is Vice President, Academic, and Provost at Vancouver Island University.

Heike Schroeder is Tyndall Research Fellow in the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University's Centre for the Environment.


“21st century environmental problems can't be solved with 20th century bureaucracies. The contributors to Institutions and Environmental Change have identified the key societal challenge facing governments at the onset of the 21st century. While many environmentalists point to ‘tipping points’ of global environmental change, the authors in this volume search for and identify bureaucratic ‘choke points’ that serve to block necessary institutional change. This book will be a clarion call for governments and practitioners worldwide trying to address growing climate and climate-related crises.”
Michael H. Glantz, Senior Scientist, The National Center for Atmospheric Research
“This project report from the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Project is exciting, important, and at the forefront of research. The editors provide an excellent theoretical overview backed up with strong empirical evidence. It is addressed to a broad group of social scientists, ecologists, and environmental scientists interested in environmental change. A wonderful achievement.”
Elinor Ostrom, Co-Director, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University