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Professor Dolšak’s research examines institutional challenges in governing common pool resources at multiple levels of aggregation. 

(1) Marketable Permits: Managing Local, Regional, and Global Commons

Her doctoral dissertation, “Marketable Permits: Managing Local, Regional, and Global Commons”, analyzes the applicability of marketable permits for managing natural common-pool resources (CPRs) of various spatial extents.  The U.S. delegation to the Kyoto protocol suggested establishing an international market for trading permits for emissions of greenhouse gases.  Since such emission permit markets have been established predominantly in the U.S., this dissertation draws on these lessons and examines their applicability to construct a global emission and sequestration market.

This study focuses on the following factors (independent variables) that affect the performance of marketable permits: (1) CPR characteristics affecting resource “measurability"; (2) characteristics of the CPR users; (3) the external legal and regulatory environment; (4) rules regulating the CPR use and users.  Performance of marketable permits is operationalized as market liquidity (number of trades, proportion of resource users who enter the markets, and price dispersion) and effectiveness of the system to reduce the overuse of the CPR.  This research examines multiple environmental markets.  These are: sulfur dioxide emission allowance trading, CFCs production and consumption permits, lead permit trading, early EPA emission trading, Regional Clean Air Incentives Market, and wetlands mitigation banking.  The results of the analysis suggest some learning on how marketable permits could be devised to manage a global atmosphere as a sink for carbon dioxide emissions. 

Edited Volumes

Professor Dolšak has co-edited two volumes. 

(1) The Drama of the Commons

The first volume, “The Drama of the Commons”, was published under the aegis of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council’s Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change.  The co-editors are:  Professor Elinor Ostrom (Indiana University, Bloomington), Professor Thomas Dietz (George Mason University), Nives Dolšak  (University of Washington, Bothell), Dr. Paul Stern (National Research Council), Professor Susan Stonich (University of California at Santa Barbara), and Professor Elke Weber (Columbia University).

This interdisciplinary volume reviews theoretical advancements in the study of common pool resources that have been made in the last 15 years.  The volume is intended to provide a fairly broad introduction to the field for readers unfamiliar with it and provocative research suggestions for researchers.  The first section of the book reviews the lessons policy makers and researchers have drawn in the last 15 years.  This research draws on case studies, multivariate data analysis, controlled experimentation, and formal modeling to examine factors affecting sustenance of common property arrangements, in particular common property regimes and individual tradable permits.  The second section of the book examines emerging issues in the commons research, such as dynamic effects of institutional emergence and sustenance and multiple-level institutional arrangements, linkages across these levels, and scalability of the lessons from one to another level. 

(2) The Commons in the New Millennium: Challenges and Adaptation

The second volume,“The Commons in the New Millennium: Challenges and Adaptation”, co-edited with Professor Elinor Ostrom, the MIT Press, analyzes new challenges that owners, managers, policy makers, and analysts face in managing natural commons, such as forests, water resources, and fisheries.  In particular, it examines challenges in managing commons, caused by new findings about physical characteristics of the commons, their complexity and interconnectedness, new institutional arrangements both at micro (privatization) and macro level (economic and political changes in countries and regions), and the role of financial, social, and political capital in the commons governance. Practical applications of the raised are discussed in light of empirical analyses of various commons and suggestions for sustainable governance are presented.  This volume draws on selected papers presented at the 8th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP), held in Bloomington, Indiana, May 31-June 4, 2000.  This conference was co-chaired by Elinor Ostrom and Nives Dolšak.  This project is sponsored by the Ford Foundation and by the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change, Indiana University, Bloomington. 

(3) Abstracts of Selected Papers

Professor Dolšak’s other research includes a study of factors affecting countries’ decision to cooperate in international regimes, in particular the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto protocol, an examination of interlinkages between local and global air pollution caused by electricity generation, potentials for increasing energy efficiency in the east European countries in transition and in the U.S.A.

“Mitigating Global Climate Change: Why Some Countries are more Committed than Others?”

“Trans-Pacific Air Pollution and NAAQS Attainment: Domestic and International Policy Options”  

“Regional Versus Global? Will Strategies for Reduction of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions from Electric Utilities Increase Carbon Dioxide Emissions?”

“Potentials for Reductions of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Industrial Sector in Transitional Economies - A Case Study of Implementation of Absorption Chillers and Co-Generation”

“Who Can Improve Energy Efficiency in the U.S. - Government or Market Forces?”