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The Ostrom-Young Debate: To What Extent Can Elinor Ostrom’s Design Principles be Upscaled to International Environmental Problems?

Throughout their careers, Oran Young and Elinor Ostrom had an ongoing and unresolved discussion on whether any of her design principles of local institutions associated with the successful and long-enduring management of common resources could be upscaled to the international level. Using qualitative comparative analysis and fixed-effects regression models with data from the International Regimes Database (Breitmeier, Young, & Zürn, 2006) I test whether four of her principles are associated with improved performance in 38 multilateral environmental treaties.