The Institutional Analysis and Design (IAD) Framework



As stated on the Ostrom Workshop website:

The Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework was designed by Ostrom and her colleagues from the Ostrom Workshop in 2005 to facilitate analysis of institution processes through which individual and collective choices occur. The IAD framework includes analyzing actors, norms, institutional settings, incentive structures, rules, and more. Social scientists have widely adopted the IAD framework to study institutional arrangements and the emerge and changes of institutions over time. IAD framework divides situations into “action arena”, which include “participants” and “action situations”. “Participants” are influenced by “Exogenous Variables”, making choices within existing “rules”, and engaging in “interactions”. Both the Exogenous Variables and “participants” interactions result in outcomes, which are evaluated by the “participants”. Such evaluation influences other components in the framework.

This framework can be used to analyze any institution, offering insights about how to sustain or improve it, how to create an alternative or competitor, or possibly how to counter the institution.


Peter Levine describes Ostrom’s basic ideas in Part I (17 minutes) of a free online lecture, and he walks through the Institutional Analysis and Design Framework in Part II (11 minutes), using two different examples.


An individual or small group can choose an institution to analyze, download this PowerPoint version of the Framework, fill in the boxes, and then discuss the implications. This page provides definitions and other explanatory material.

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