Dissecting Policy Designs: An Application of the Institutional Grammar Tool

Saba Siddiki, Christopher M. Weible, Xavier Basurto, John Calanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


An enduring challenge for the policy and political sciences is valid and reliable depiction of policy designs. One emerging approach for dissecting policy designs is the application of Sue Crawford and Elinor Ostrom's institutional grammar tool. The grammar tool offers a method to identify, systematically, the core elements that comprise policies, including target audiences, expected patterns of behavior, and formal modes of sanctioning for noncompliance. This article provides three contributions to the study of policy designs by developing and applying the institutional grammar tool. First, we provide revised guidelines for applying the institutional grammar tool to the study of policy design. Second, an additional component to the grammar, called the oBject, is introduced. Third, we apply the modified grammar tool to four policies that shape Colorado State Aquaculture to demonstrate its effectiveness and utility in illuminating institutional linkages across levels of analysis. The conclusion summarizes the contributions of the article as well as points to future research and applications of the institutional grammar tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-103
Number of pages25
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Fish farms
  • Institutional analysis
  • Levels of analysis
  • Rules-in-form

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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