Coordinator: prof. dr. ir. Vincent Buskens
This theme considers how to ensure cooperative behaviour among groups of citizens using modes of voluntary human behaviour and interaction, as well as effective regulation with specific rules and measures of enforcement where necessary. It investigates under what circumstances people, through association and collective action, are able to solve problems that states and markets cannot address successfully. How to avoid coordination problems and freeriding behaviour, for example in the use of open access resources? When and why is either self-regulation or third-party enforcement most effective? How do institutions develop as a consequence of how people cooperate or fail to cooperate?
Some of the more specific questions include:
- How can voluntary cooperation be promoted through formal and informal institutions, including social and expert networks?
- Which institutions facilitate collective action and how are these institutions in turn affected by outcomes of collective action?
- How can we improve the organisation of common pool resources and open access resources, including water, air or types of knowledge, to ensure that they are used well?
- What are the effects of new “social” technologies (e.g., social media) on cooperation and community building and how can these effects be studied effectively?
- How does language shape cooperation at various levels, e.g., from linguistically codified institutional regulations and narratives down to retoric and self-talk?
- What are the legal and administrative problems in creating institutions for cooperation and facilitating self-regulation?
These questions exemplify issues already pursued in the theme group, but we are very interested in accommodating other Utrecht University research. If you would like to join and enrich the theme with a new angle on cooperation, self-regulation and collective action, please get in touch with the theme coordinator.