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Research article2012Peer reviewed

Transaction Costs of Institutional Change in Multiple-Use Commons: The Case of Consultations Between Forestry and Reindeer Husbandry in Northern Sweden

Sandström, Camilla; Widmark, Camilla


Interdependence, that is, when the choice of one actor influences that of another, has relevance for the success of an institutional arrangement. Transaction cost theory can help to explain responses to governance solutions and problems associated with governance and policy of such arrangements. This paper focuses on the parallel use of the forest resources by the forestry industry and indigenous groups practising reindeer husbandry in Northern Sweden as an example of such interdependence. A theoretical model of governance of interdependence and the effect of transaction costs is developed in the paper to meet the needs of being able to evaluate the effect of interdependence in a multiple-use situation. The model is then tested on the empirical example of forestry and reindeer husbandry, using scenario and focus-group methods, to discuss the effect of transaction costs in the present hybrid institution system. This institution is intended to address the interdependence between the actors and manage conflicts, but currently fails to reduce conflict. Next, the model is used to evaluate possible changes; the results of the analysis show that modifying the institutional arrangement can bring about improvements that would have some redistributive effects in terms of transaction costs, lessening the impact of interdependence.


Forestry; governance; land-use conflict; new institutional analysis; policy analysis; Sami

Published in

Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning
2012, Volume: 14, number: 4, pages: 428-449

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

    Publication identifier


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