About this site

Aim of this website


The message underlying this site is that institutions for collective action can be a suitable way to govern resources sustainably and efficiently, depending on the type of resource and the circumstances. We do not advocate that such institutions offer solutions to all problems or that they are “better” than the private or state solution. We simply offer the tools to find out when, why and how institutions for collective action have and can offer the right incentive structure to solve problems. The material that can be found on this site is mainly related to institutions that were created during the pre-industrial period in Europe, but there is also material on guilds in e.g. China and the material on present-day institutions will be expanded.   


It is our intention and hope that other researchers will use the material offered – for free – on this site and that they will contribute their own material (datasets, publications, source material etc.) via this site. If you are a scholar studying institutions for collective action, please do also visit our “how can I get involved?” section to receive regular updates on the many projects (see also the related projects section) related to this site.  

 About the future of this website 


For the future we hope and aim to include much more information on other forms of institutions for collective action, particularly those that still function today. The data that are currently available refer mainly to the pre-1900, and in some cases to the pre-1800 period. Understanding how these institutions functioned is very valuable to understand any further developments in society, such as the nineteenth-century formation of labour unions, which was a near to logical consequence of the evolution guilds went through prior to 1800 (see the article by Van der Vleuten and Van Zanden, 2010). We intend to add information on co-operatives in agriculture, banking and various other sectors, on labour unions, etc. The main focus will remain on organisations that have a primarily economic purpose, but we are open to suggestions to include other non-economic institutions.


Please fill in our contact form or contact the webmaster if you want to collaborate and/or contribute in the future.

 Projects behind this website


The website is the result of two projects that are being coordinated at Utrecht University (co-ordinator: Dr. Tine De Moor). The first project is named “Data Infrastructures for the Study of guilds and other forms of collective action” (total budget: 495,600 €) and runs from 1 September 2007 until 31 August 2011. This project is sponsored by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO).


A second project aims at using these datasets – and others – to study the long term dynamics of institutions for collective action in pre-industrial Europe, and this in relation to changes in marriage patterns and economic development. This project, entitled '"United we Stand". The dynamics and consequences of institutions for collective action in pre-industrial Europe', is endowed with a European Research Council Starting grant of 1,2 million €, awarded to Tine De Moor, and runs from 1 January 2010 until 30 June 2014.  

 Citing this website 


Please do! In the spirit of collective action, you don't need our permission to cite the information on our website. However, whenever you cite (any part of) this website, please mention that the information cited originated from the website www.collective-action.info.


Design and maintenance 


Webmaster : René van Weeren 

Text-editing: Connie Hopkins

Principal design of this website : Ruparo, Ivo Sikkema

This site has been created by using Drupal, an open source content management platform. Icons used on this website originate from the open source website http://openiconlibrary.sourceforge.net/