Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #308
Behavior Analysis Meets Institutional Analysis: Discussing the Preservation of Common Pool Resources
Sunday, May 26, 2019
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Fairmont, B2, Imperial Ballroom
Area: CSS; Domain: Theory
Chair: Sigrid S. Glenn (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
CE Instructor: Ramona Houmanfar, Ph.D.

General abstract: Elinor Ostrom’s work on management of common pool resources (CPR) offers an opportunity for behavior analysts to consider contingencies at behavioral and cultural levels involved in management of CPRs. This symposium comprises four papers, each focusing on behavioral contingencies, macrocontingencies and metacontingencies having roles in the depletion or conservation of a real-world CPR. The first presentation considers conservation of a public lake, examining behavioral and cultural selection contingencies in the context of a larger external system. The second presentation investigates the management of common pool resources in an Extractive Reserve as an example of self-governance of a CPR in contemporary Brazil. The third presentation examines the evolution of new interlocking behavioral contingencies when an indigenous CPR community starts to be affected by metacontingencies of a commercial market. The last presentation examines another case in which economic and political contingencies are producing new alliances between large and small producers of garlic in Bahia, Brazil.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Integrating Institutional and Culturo-Behavioral Analyses to the Management of Common Pool Resources
MARIA E. MALOTT (Association for Behavior Analysis International), Sigrid S. Glenn (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The “tragedy of the commons” describes the depletion of resources when appropriated by a group of people. Previous scholars concluded that the only ways to avoid depletion of resources were private ownership or external governmental control. In Ostrom’s institutional analysis she identified a third solution to the tragedy of the commons. She analyzed multiple small communities lasting hundreds and even thousands of years in which the appropriators themselves managed their common pool of resources without external government control or privatization. She also identified eight design principles that characterize successful management of shared resources. Later she developed additional principles analyzing more complex social systems. We bring behavioral and cultural selection perspectives to complement her work. We analyze appropriators’ management of common pool resources in terms of metacontingencies and macrocontingencies operating within larger external systems. We conclude with a description of complementary principles to guide management of shared resources.
Managing Environmental Policies: Lessons From Traditional Communities
ROBERTA LEMOS (Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social, Brazil), Célia Regina Favacho (Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social, Brazil), Kátia Favilla (Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social, Brazil)
Abstract: Natural resource preservation concerns have been prevalent around the world and a range of solutions have been implemented to prevent their depletion. This paper brings together the literature on the commons and behavioral principles to understand how traditional communities’ management of common pool resources can contribute to this discussion. More specifically, it highlights how these communities can offer lessons to governments on how to develop and manage environmental policies with minimal intervention to ensure sustainable development. While Ostrom's work focuses on investigating how small communities succeed at managing common pool resources without external interference, Behavior Analysis can describe how cultural practices are selected. Through this framework, we investigate the practices of an Extractive Reserve (RESEX) in Brazil. A RESEX is an area of land, generally state-owned, where access and use rights, including natural resource extraction, are allocated to local groups. umos Fishermen in this community are able to successfully preserve one of their main sources of livelihood, the fiddler crab. Finally, we describe relevant elements and behavioral interactions to the preservation of resources that governments may want to consider.
The Impact of a Market Economy in the Preservation and Production of Açaí Berries in Brazilian Amazon
AECIO DE BORBA VASCONCELOS NETO (Universidade Federal do Pará, Brazil)
Abstract: Many different fields of knowledge approach social problems such as the overuse of resources necessary for human development and survival. Behavior analysts can contribute to the debate with the description of the individual and cultural contingencies that impact in the cultural practices responsible for the depletion or conservation of these resources. When looking on the possible overuse of common pool resources, an understanding of Elinor Ostrom’s work is valuable. This presentation aims to describe and analyze the selection of different cultural practices in the case of the production of açaí berries in Brazilian Amazon. In the past, the fruit was harvested and consumed by traditional caboclo communities in the Amazon region, in sustainable common pool management. The boom in the economy in the last 50 years led to new practices. We argue that the profit of this market selected new interlocked behavioral contingencies that may have different long-term nature effects as environmental erosion and social costs as the exclusion of the traditional populations and limiting the access of the low-income population to the product.
The Common Pool Resource: The Evolution of Cultural Practices in the Brazilian Economy
LAÉRCIA ABREU VASCONCELOS (Universidade de Brasília; Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), Virgínia Nogueira (Universidade de Brasília; Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), Pedro Vieira (Universidade de Brasília; Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), Gilmar Henz (Universidade de Brasília; Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation)
Abstract: The Behavioral Systems theory, based on metacontingencies as sources of behavior change, has shown how behavioral engineering offered by Behavior Analysis can contribute to the analysis of different levels of complexity. The interface between Behavior Analysis, Elinor Ostrom's Economics, and the agricultural sector shows the strength of integrating areas in the study of cultural interventions. Thus, the objective of this essay is to present points of the Economic theory, in particular of the Common Pool Resources approach, in the study of the evolution of cultural practices. A case study of the adoption of virus-free garlic production by family farmers in Bahia State, Brazil, will be analyzed, with emphasis on the macrosystem (e.g., economic and political aspects) and on the alliance between small and big garlic producers. Impacts on the agents directly involved, as well as on the local economy, show favorable development alternatives.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh