Institutional Resource Regimes: The Case of Water Management in Switzerland


  • Frederic Varone Catholic University of Louvain, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Lou
  • Emmanuel Reynard University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography, Lausanne, Switzerland


natural resource, water management, institutional regime, property and use rights, policy design, Switzerland.


The increased consumption of goods and services derived from natural resources has resulted in competing uses, increasing scarcity, and destruction of the resources stock. The use of such threatened resources can be institutionally influenced and managed by means of Institutional Resource Regimes (IR). An IR is a combination of ownership, disposition and use rights, and of resource-specific protection and exploitation policies. This article presents the theoretical IR concept and analyses the historical development of IRs for the water resource in Switzerland. In particular, it identifies those historical moments where the IRs actually changed, as well as the entire development trajectory of the IRs for the period 1870±2000.