Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Thaer-Institute | Resource Economics | Research challenges | Problem dimensions | Issues of Economic Development and Developmental Cooperation

Issues of Economic Development and Developmental Cooperation

In development studies there is an emerging consensus on the importance of institutions – systems of societal rules – in economic development and social change. One example is recognition of non-codified property rights in natural resources by the state held by traditional users of tropical forests. This recognition often proves essential to reduce the vulnerability of their livelihood. Based on the general acknowledgement of the importance of institutions three different research threads developed. The first treats institutions as the independent variable and inquires the relationship between a given set of institutions and observed societal outcomes – be they aspired or considered in the need of change. The second research thread inverts the approach adopted by the first and analyses the question of how and by what drivers institutions change. That is, institutions become the dependent variable. One aspect covered under this research thread is the relationship between progressive legal reforms and prevailing and persistent social structures. This question assumes particular importance when legal reforms aim to strengthen the social position of marginalised groups. The third research thread investigates the possibility of fostering institutional change by third parties. The identification of criteria for efforts to change institutions is an important aspect covered by this research thread. Institutional research in this field critically discusses “institutional transplants”, that is, the transfer of institutional innovations that generated desired social outcomes in a given situation to other societal contexts. The question of adapted solutions assumes high importance in this regard.

This problem dimension has been addressed in the following research projects:

    Hyderabad as a Megacity of Tomorrow: Sustainable Urban Food and Health Security and Environmental Resource Management


Padmanabhan, Martina Gender and Institutional Analysis - Resource Management in Asia and Africa

Rommel, Jens

The Institutional Mediation of Community Heterogeneity and Collective Action Outcomes

Schmidt, Oscar

Democratization or Path-dependency? An institutional analysis of the evolution of access to land and water resources in South-East Anatolia, Turkey

Weigelt, Jes (2011)

Reforming Development Trajectories? Institutional change of forest tenure in the Brazilian Amazon

Hundie, Bekele (2008)

Pastoralism, Institutions and Social Interactions: Explaining the coexistence of conflicts and cooperation in pastoral Afar, Ethiopia. Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 34. Aachen: Shaker

Beyene, Fekadu (2008)

Challenges and Options in Governing Common Property. Customary institutions among (agro-)pastoralists in Ethiopia. Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 32. Aachen: Shaker

Seema Singh Potential and Constraints of building Environmental Health Risk Resilient Communities in the Emerging Mega City of Hyderabad/India