YesThis paper challenges ideas that it is possible to `get the institutions right¿ in the management of natural resources. It engages with the literature and policy specifying `design principles¿ for robust institutions and uses data from a river basin management project in Usangu, Tanzania, to illustrate the complexity of institutional evolution. The paper draws on emerging `post-institutionalist¿ perspectives to reject over-formalised managerial approaches in favour of those that accept the dynamic nature of institutional formation, and accommodate a variety of partial and contingent solutions. Data from Usangu suggests that external `crafting¿ is inevitably problematic because, to a certain extent, institutions elude design
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