Common Pool Resources, Spillover Effects, and Local Security: a Theoretical Foundation with Preliminary Evidence

Jessica Steinberg (Indiana University)

Abstract: To what extent does common property management of common pool resources (CPRs) yield spillover effects in other spheres of behavior, influencing individual behavior beyond the realm of natural resource management? Existing research suggests that communities that participate in community management schemes of CPRs can successfully manage a resource for the long term (Ostrom 1990, Agrawal and Chhatre 2006) and reduce conflict over the use of a CPR through the specification of clear rules for its management, and monitoring and enforcement of these rules (Ostrom 1990). However, little research has been done to evaluate the potential of positive externalities of these forms of local cooperation - existing literature says nothing about reducing conflict in other domains or adjacent systems. In this paper I explore the potential for spillover effects of common property rights regimes at the community level. Using a “games theory” framework (Bednar and Page 2007), I develop a theory and provide preliminary evidence to adjudicate between four competing hypotheses. I rely on preliminary evidence from a survey in Casamance, a separatist region in southern Senegal, where the creation of common property management of forests has been implemented as an explicit peacebuilding strategy.