Information, networks, and the complexity of trust in commons governance

Adam Douglas Henry, Thomas Dietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The publication of Elinor Ostrom's (1990) Governing the Commons fueled significant theoretical and empirical progress in the field of commons governance and collective action, most notably in the form of the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. A central question within this literature is how trust is created, maintained, and potentially destroyed in the context of sustainability issues. While the commons literature has provided a deeper understanding of trust, most empirical work has been done in relatively simple settings that do not capture the complexity of many global, institutionally-complex dilemmas that we face today. This paper discusses how our understanding of trust in these more complex settings may be improved by considering how two broad categories of variables-belief systems and networks-influence trust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-212
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of the Commons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Advocacy coalition framework (ACF)
  • Belief systems
  • Common pool resources
  • Homophily
  • Information
  • Institutional analysis and development (IAD)
  • Networks
  • Reputation
  • Risk
  • Sustainability
  • Transitivity
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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