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The IIG framework thus supports the insight of Ostrom et al. In light of this integrated understanding of the interdependence of institutions, we argue that if a structural hole is resolved, the problem of institutional void might be mediated. This is because the decision-makers in formal institutions may use local-level officials as mediating agents for the transfer or exchange of information with communities. This intervention ultimately will serve as an indirect communication network between informal institutions and the formal government. Similarly, when formal government recognizes legal pluralism, it actually acknowledges the existence of cultural diversity, or the locally-embedded cultural system.

In so doing, it enhances incorporation of customary or informal constitutional rules into the operational and collective activities of local-level government officials, and opens up opportunities to negotiate a cultural mismatch. Our study of inter-institutional gaps highlights the importance of mediation between formal and informal institutions to establish rules at all levels needed to regulate the management of natural resources. When these are absent, bureaucrats and local leaders may attempt to develop informal socially-binding rules to perform a mediating role between formal and informal institutions Krishna ; Rahman et al.

However, due to the lack of constitutional choice rules mandating their communication, government officials may also become reluctant to bridge the gap with local community members Ostrom Pluralism without representation favors the most organized and powerful groups. A lack of accountability tends to render the social actors and groups and thus the management of the resource vulnerable to a re-emergence of the institutional gaps if mediators decide to relocate or disappear. Further, even when mediators remain, the lack of meaningful involvement of local users reduces the legitimacy of decisions made.

Ultimately there is a need for more collaborative institutional arrangements that are capable of enabling flexibility and innovation in the face of environmental change Adger et al. Understanding the complex interactions between formal and informal institutions is one of the persisting challenges facing sustainable natural resource management, policy and governance. In many regions around the world, conflict between actors operating under formal and informal institutions continues to be observed, despite the many calls for fostering meaningful interactions between these groups to enhance the long-term sustainable use of natural resources and the adaptive capacity of resource users Dietz et al.

In this paper we presented the Inter-Institutional Gap IIG framework as an integrated approach to conceptualizing the often overlooked interconnectivity of rule-level changes between formal and informal institutions and across their multiple sets of rules used in a social-ecological system.

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The IIG enhances the analytical capacity of existing SES framework by highlighting how the absence of rules inform different inter-institutional gaps and their interactions. Our application of the IIG framework to diverse natural resource governance case studies reveals that an IIG can be created when there are unintended, unforeseen or hidden gaps between different rule hierarchies in two or more simultaneously operating institutions. Individual case study analyses highlight multi-scalar interactions between rules and the resulting inter-institutional gaps.

Additionally, from our cross-case analysis we observed that: i inter-institutional gaps are nested and may be hierarchal, therefore if a certain gap is identified, other gaps may be expected; ii certain gaps may reveal latent gaps; and iii intermediaries may be key to addressing inter-institutional gaps or creating them.

This paper presents the initial foundation of the IIG framework, and, therefore, calls for further refinement and validation through field experimentation and observation to improve our understanding of the different sets of conditions that may give rise to an IIG, how local ecological knowledge may intersect with patterns of rule-making to shape natural resource outcomes, as well as identifying potentially innovative local responses to an IIG which may be relevant to other natural resource contexts.

It is also important to further characterize the hierarchal nature of IIG in order to identify potential areas for policy action necessary to overcoming gaps between rule levels. For future application of this framework in a speci? These descriptions can be used to identify potential rule-based discrepancies in managing negotiations between formal and informal actors. In summary, we believe the IIG framework can facilitate more comprehensive understandings of multi-level and multi-scale and collaborative governance structures in addressing complex natural resource management issues.

In doing so, it has the potential to help policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers assess the various ways that gaps across institutions emerge and also contribute to the identification of potential areas where the coordination of formal and informal institutions could be improved.

Action: moves or decisions taken by a player in the game. For example, an action in tennis would include either defending the baseline or charging the net. Action taken without any rule guidance is a violation at all rule levels Kiser and Ostrom Non-constitutional action: comprises operational choice actions first level and collective choice actions second level. Seeking compensation from TCF following a tiger attack on cattle is an example of an operational choice action of an aggrieved community member see Case study 3. In the case of MNP, the new roles and actions of new leaders in land right transactions on behalf of the community is an example of collective choice action under an informal institution see Case study 2.

Constitutional action third level action : individuals are authorized to make rules governing collective actions and future decision making Kiser and Ostrom Institutions: rules of the game which is used by individuals to guide their actions and decisions North Formal institutions: as a de jure body of rulemaking and enforcement in a hierarchical organizational structure, usually accompanied by codified norms of behavior and bureaucratic polity North Informal institutions: a rule system that largely lacks official codification, and thus typically comprises habitual, verbalized, or customary rules, codes, and conducts, which function as the de facto rulemaking and enforcement body North Polycentric: different centers of decision-making which are formally independent of each other Ostrom et al.

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Rule: a coercion mechanism that prompts a decision by directing whether an action is allowed or not allowed. Rule levels: based on Ostrom et al. Acheson, J. M Institutional Failure in Resource Management. Annual Review of Anthropology 35 1 : — Adger, W. N , Arnell, N. W and Tompkins, E. Global Environmental Change 15 2 : 77— Agrawal, A and Ostrom, E Agrawal, A World Development 29 10 : — Anderies, J.

M , Janssen, M. A and Ostrom, E Ecology and Society 9 1 : 1— Ban, N. B , Evans, L. S , Nenadovic, M and Schoon, M Ecology and Society 20 4 : 2.

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Barnes-Mauthe, M , Gray, S. Insights from a Network Perspective. Environmental Management 55 2 : — Bavinck, M and Jyotishi, A New York: Routledge. Bavinck, M and Gupta, J Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 11 December : 78— Berkes, F Ostrom, E. Drama of the Commons. Brunet, N. D , Hickey, G.

Referee (Journals)

M and Humphries, M. Journal of Rural Studies 36 October : — Burt, R. S The Network Structure of Social Capital. Research in Organizational Behavior — Bridge Decay. Social Networks 24 4 : — Structural Holes and Good Ideas. The American Journal of Sociology 2 : — Carlsson, L and Berkes, F Co-management: Concepts and Methodological Implications. Journal of Environmental Management 75 1 : 65— Cash, D.

W W , Adger, W. Ecology and Society 11 2 : 8. Global Environmental Change 32— Cote, M and Nightingale, A. J Progress in Human Geography 36 4 : — India Development and Participation. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.. The Struggle to Govern the Commons. Science : — Eisenhardt, K. Building Theories from Case Study Research. Academy of Management Review 14 4 : — Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14 June : 34— Everingham, J.

A Public Policy and Administration 24 1 : 84— Folke, C; Hahn, T. Adaptive Governance of Social-Ecological Systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 30 1 : — Garmestani, A. S and Benson, M. Ecology and Society 18 1 : 9. Gibson, C.

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C In Pursuit of Better Policy Outcomes. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 57 2 : — C , Ostrom, E and Ahn, T.

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Ecological Economics 32 2 : — Government of Canada. First Nations in Canada.