CID Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Working Paper No. 26

Motivation to Engage in Social Learning about Sustainability: An Institutional Analysis

Krister Andersson

A publication of CID's Sustainability Science Program

December 2008


We need better explanations of why some efforts to create forums for social learning succeed while others fail. I argue that a critical part of such explanations is a better understanding of the institutional constraints that impinge on individual motivations to engage in the coproduction of policy-relevant knowledge. I propose that framing the social learning process as a public-goods dilemma can provide several useful insights for both analysts and promoters of social learning initiatives. My institutional analysis identifies a series of hypothetical contextual conditions that are likely to influence potential participants’ interest in social learning activities. I examine these ideas empirically in a case study of organizational learning within the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Keywords: social learning, institutional analysis, collective action, incentives, development aid, Sweden, donor organization

JEL codes: D7, H4, O2

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