Collective action in the provision of public goods from agriculture: private initiative and public policies

Authors and Affiliations: 

Teresa Pinto-Correia and Rocio Juste
ICAAM - UNiversidade de EVora

Corresponding author: 
Teresa Pinto-Correia

Literature shows us how collective action can be crucial in enhancing social learning and joint strategies which support the provision of public goods from agriculture. The socio-ecological framework is a conceptual anchoring for progressing in the understanding of the interaction of different actors in different contexts, under the influence of a diverse set of drivers (Bennett and Gosnell 2015; McGinnis and Ostrom 2014). To analyse what creates conditions for collective actions, we need to understand the kind of social network in place, its origin, the key-actors that configure the collective action, formal and informal leadership, the institutional setting and the wider support for the network activities. This presentation is grounded on a case study in Southern Portugal, where small scale farming has shown to be under revival due to the arrival of newcomers and connections to emerging urban demand for quality and locally based products (Pinto-Correia et al 2015). We will analyse the role of this small scale mosaic farming in enhancing the provision both rural dynamics and sustainable food. And we will in particular explore how these public goods provision is dependent on collective action, and how is this collective action supported. We will analyse the role of public policies in this process, both concerning their expressed goals and their implementation in practice. The interaction between private initiative and public intervention is discussed. Outcomes from this and other case studies in Europe, all studied in the framework of the H2020 project PEGASUS, will contribute to a grounded discussion on conditions for collective action in the agricultural landscape in a framework of increased demand for public goods, as well as the role that public intervention has and could have.


Bennett D. and Gosnell H., 2015. Integrating multiple perspectives on payments for ecosystem services through a social–ecological systems framework, Ecological Economics 116 : 172–181
McGinnis, M. D., and E. Ostrom. 2014. Social-ecological system framework: initial changes and continuing challenges. Ecology and
Society 19(2): 30.
Pinto-Correia T., Almeida M. and Gonzalez C., 2015. A local landscape in transition between production and consumption: can new management arrangements preserve the local landscape character? Danish Journal of Geography DOI 10.1080/00167223.2015.1108210

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