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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeOrdinal
Variable Component TypeActor
Variable KindComponent
ThemeSocial capital (learn about themes)
ProjectsSESMAD, Fiji fisheries
QuestionHow high is the level of trust between members of this group?
Select Options1 Low, 2 Medium, 3 High
ImportanceWithout substantial trust in among members of an actor group, it is very hard to establish cooperation in the management of a shared environmental commons. It is understood that reciprocity and trust and strongly related; as individuals reciprocate, reputation of being trustworthy increases thus contributing to enduring reciprocity (Ostrom and Walker 2002).

"Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of another actor (group). High: actors have full faith and confidence in one another to fullfill promises. Low: actors have no or very little faith or confidence that others will fullfill their promises."


Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used
Conditions for general resilienceModerate or High
Past collaboration and social capitalHigh
Communication and collective actionHigh
Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM)High

Associated Studies

Study Citation

Ostrom, Elinor, and James Walker. 2002. Trust and Reciprocity: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Experimental Research. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
Galapagos Artisan FishermenMedium (2)Fishermen wouldf come toegther for meetings and organise themselves when issues affected them, and therefore assume there must be some level of trust for the cooperative to function in this manner.
"New Order" Indonesian Central Government (1965-1998)High (3)The regime operated through a small and very tight-knight group of allies which Suharto trusted; this trust was based on family ties, on proving useful to Suharto, not having a political agenda that would challenge Suharto in any way, and of course not criticizing the regime. As a Machiavellian, Suharto had a good instinct for whom to trust. For instance, BJ Habibie, one of Suharto's closest allies, won his trust showing persistent obeisance (strong deferential respect), and having usefulness in technological knowledge and in mobilizing the community of Muslim 'modernist' intellectuals, though there was also a personal friendship to Suharto dating back to much before the New Order (Amir, 2007); meanwhile, Azwar Anas won Suharto's trust due to his ability to integrate West Sumatra into Indonesia's unitary state, and later secured his position by allying with Habibie (Prasetyawan, 2006). The importance of trust between Suharto and his close allies could also be seen in the recent interpretation of his regime's fall as a result of increasing tensions (i.e. the breakdown of trust and reciprocity) between Suharto and previously loyal oligarchs (see Fukukoka, 2013).
Misool Eco Resort 
Indonesian "Adat" CommunitiesHigh (3)Presumably levels of trust within groups are high. Between groups, trust may not be that high, as evidenced by conflicts between adat communities within an ethnic group and, more notably, between some ethnic groups.
Large Extractive Industries in Indonesia Does this refer to inter or intra group?
Indonesian Local entrepreneursLow (1)Again, not sure how to do this one for this group.
Indonesian District Governments missing in case
"Reformasi" Indonesian Central Government (1998-2012)Low (1)Missing in case. We have no evidence about this.
Civil society organizations in Indonesia ?
ICCAT Contracting Parties  
ICCAT Western Members 
ICCAT Eastern Members N/A
Ozone Nation States  Missing in case
Ozone Depleting Substance Industrial ProducersMedium (2)
Ozone Secretariat 
ICPR nations (1976-1986)Medium (2)There was enough trust to sign the Chemicals Convention but not enough to implement it; lack of confidence among countries in that regard manifested in a too procedural approach to pollution control (black and grey lists of pollutants and their concentration thresholds).
ICPR nations (1986-2000)High (3)The moderate heterogeneity of interests and the room left by the governance system (Rhine Action Plan) favored a climate of trust
Rhine chemical firms 
Rhine agricultural sector 
GBR government co-managersHigh (3)GBRMPA and QPWS seemingly demonstrate high levels of consensus and trust.
GBR recreational fishersMissingMissing in case
Wetfish Fishermen 
GBR fisheries managersNot Applicable
GBR commercial fishersHigh (3)Commercial fishing sectors do not generally compete with each other. Their interests vis-a-vis regulation, conservation, market changes tend to be similar. Therefore trust is assumed to be high. There are no research studies we are aware of that specifically investigate trust.
National Marine Sanctuaries Office of NOAAHigh (3)All members are working under the same guidelines and for similar objectives.
Raja Ampat TourismHigh (3)Focus is mandated to be local-level ecotourism or homestay. Can ahve outside investment, but must be majority (80%) local staff. Number of liveaboards are capped and there are tax breaks for homestays.
Australian Toothfish FishersMissing
Wakatobi Bajau fishersHigh (3)Strong cultural history. Strong social capital within the group - e.g. catch sharing
NWHI Monument Co-Trusteeship Medium (2)Low at the start of the time period being coded but now is considereably better - A. Wilhelm pers comm.
Wakatobi managersMedium (2)No evidence specifically on trust, but NGOs are given a lot of freedom by government (e.g. patrolling) - mainly due to lack of capacity on part of the government and investment in the area by TNC/WWF and their need to achieve objectives. No data on trust specifically. Julian Clifton described it as 'more respect, than trust' (interview June 2015): "local mayor is very influential, and I would imagine the NGOs don’t trust him because they can’t control him, and they have their own agendas in needing to meet their conservation objectives. Respect each other, but not really trust. The mayor is powerful at a local level, but NGOs are connected to the government further up the ladder through the Coral Triangle Initiative – so the mayor can’t antagonise the NGOs - benefits to both if they rub along with each other."
Svalbard Resource ManagersHigh (3)Although difficult to determine, these actors likely have a high degree of trust.
Australian Antarctic DivisionMissing
GMR managersLow (1)It would have been low at the start and for the majaority of the time period being coded as there was a lot of conflict. However the IMA has not needed to meet in the last few years and so it could now be considered medium?
Riparian Nations (1976-1986) 
Charles Darwin FoundationHigh (3)Likely fairly high, as it is a research community with more or less converging interests.
Galapagos Tourism SectorHigh (3)Assume fairly high - no reports of conflict within the sector
Raja Ampat Artisanal FishersHigh (3)
CORALINANot Applicable
NWHI ResearchersMedium (2)Depending on funding and personalities this is probably medium
California Academic ResearchersMedium (2)The peer review process allows for formal credibility among members of the group. Since some institutions are associated with particular biases or restrictions (e.g. federal projects vs conservation group projects), trust of conclusions may be lower. However, while conclusions and methods may be debated, the rigorous research process that each project is held to allows for some trust of other members.
California Sanctuary Recreational UsersMedium (2)Since users may seek conflicting uses of the sanctuary (e.g. extraction vs observation), particularly conservationists may not trust recreational fishers. But often times these groups do not interact and often times they are the same, especially tourists who come to the area to do both.
California Groundfish FishermenLow (1)With quotas becoming smaller and protected areas becoming bigger, competition is becoming more fierce. While many times members are friends or family, competition is so high that trust is low. Possible higher level trust within Risk Pool groups (need confirmation on this through interviews).
California State and Federal Fisheries AgenciesMedium (2)CDFW and PFMC groundfish fishery members typically have a high level of trust amongst each other, working toward the same goal under the same guidelines. However, many members of the PFMC management team include stakeholders which often times represent conflicting goals and groups of people (e.g. tribal agency member, Washington vs Oregon vs California states), which can inherently raise a level of caution during deliberations and compromises.
Community CHigh (3)4.23/5: This indicates that on average levels of trust in leaders falls between trust more than distrust (4) and entirely trust (5).
Community DHigh (3)4/5: This value indicates that on average respondents trust more than distrust (4) other members of the community.
Seaflower artisanal fishersHigh (3)Based on the continuous engagement of this group in the MPA planing process I imagine it is high.
Community AMedium (2)3.71/5. This value indicates that on average levels of trust in other members of the community falls between neither trust nor distrust (3) and trust more than distrust (4).
Community BMedium (2)3.18/5: Levels of trust in other members of the community falls between neither trust nor distrust (3) and trust more than distrust (4).
Australian Fisheries Management AuthorityMissing
Raja Ampat ManagersHigh (3)MPAs were set up as a collaboration from the outset so trust is very high (M.Erdmann pers comm)
Macquarie Island ManagersMissing
Svalbard TourismHigh (3)Although group trust is difficult to judge, the evidence of past collaboration and continued operation of AECO suggests that group trust is likely to be high. Literature searches so far have not indicated substantial distrust among members of the group.
Community GMedium (2)3.46/5: This value indicates that on average trust in other members of the community falls between neither trust nor distrust (3) and trust more than distrust (4).
Community EMedium (2)3.85/5: This value indicates that average levels of trust in other members of the community falls between neither trust nor distrust (3) and trust more than distrust (4).
Svalbard Shrimp FishersHigh (3)From a study not specifically about shrimp fishing, but about fishing more generally in the Barents Sea, Honneland (2000) found that fisherman believed that others would not exceed their quota limits. Since Coast Guard inspections occurred regularly (and violators were punished fairly and without bias), many fishermen held the view that others could cheat without being detected, but “only in small quantities and not over time”.
Community FLow (1)2.77/5: This indicates that average level of trust in other members of the community falls somewhere between Distrust more than trust (2) and Neither trust nor distrust (3).
Community HMedium (2)3.5/5. This value indicates that on average levels of trust in other community members falls between neither trust nor distrust (3) and trust more than distrust (4).
Galapagos Charles Darwin FoundationHigh (3)Likely fairly high, as it is a research community with more or less converging interests.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Director of National Parks MissingNo information was fou The executive team -- Director of National Parks and the 4 senior executives -- meet regularly to address strategic directions and current issues.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial FishersHigh (3)No evidence was found on level of trust between commercial fishers but group interests are similar and trust is assumed to be high. Trust within members of the CFA appear to be high as cooperation between members is visible from newletters and social media reports.
Cenderwasih fishersHigh (3)Tribes and clans have a long history in the area
Cenderwasih managersMissing
Falkland Islands Government (FIG) Fisheries ManagersHigh (3)In management, there are rivals of course, but managers all know each other and generally have trust that they are in it together.
Patagonian Squid TrawlersHigh (3)Small community, 20-30 years same people involved, social stigma to do the right thing and be honest with each other. Most of the time any issue is some guy "being an idiot" but not trying to rig the system. Crew: many of them have worked for many years together, no observed conflicts.
New Zealand Fishery ManagersHigh (3)Generally high. Professional relationship, worked for many years with same parties.
New Zealand Arrow Squid FishersMedium (2)Appears to be high. Very professional. Always inter-company rivalry
California market squid fishermenMedium (2)Generally close family ties. Fishers communicate frequently and mostly share information. Natural competition. Less trust among various areas (other states, different ports) and newcomers to fishery (particularly those from Alaska or Washington).
Indonesian Institute of Sciences - LIPINot Applicable
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Market Squid ManagersHigh (3)Appear to be on same level.
Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio)Missing
Brazilian Institute of the Environment & Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA)Missing
Isla Caballo AMPR Costa RicaLow (1)
Paquera-Tambor AMPR Costa RicaMedium (2)
Secretary of State for the Environment of Pará (SEMA) in BrazilMissing
Association of Users in the Caete-Teperacu RESEX (ASSUREMACATA) in BrazilMedium (2)
Lombok aquaculture farmersMedium (2)
SCUBA diving businesses on Gili TrawanganHigh (3)
Gili Indah Dive Association (GIDA)High (3)
Gili EcoTrust on Gili TrawanganHigh (3)
Palito-Montero AMPR Costa RicaLow (1)