The Institutional Analysis and Development framework (IAD) is a systematic method to collect policy analysis functions similar to analytic technique commonly used in physical and social sciences and understand the ways an institution can operate and change over a period of time. It was developed by Elinor Ostrom, an American political scientist, also known as the first woman to receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009.
The Institutional Analysis and Development Framework views institutions as human-made system within which individual choices take place and which configure consequences of the respective choices. According to Ostrom, IAD is a "multi-level conceptual map" with which one could zoom in and out of particular hierarchical parts of the regularised interactions in an established social system. It assumes a context to the particular interaction in which the general network of regular actors would be analysed, the particular rules-in-use, and the particular common outcome that they hope to achieve. In the traditional analysis of common pool arrangements, the common outcome would be a particular resource which the actors draw on. IAD defines institutions as, "shared concepts used by humans in repetitive situations organized by rules, norms, and strategies".
The IAD framework helps to perceive complex social phenomenon by dividing them into smaller pieces of practically understandable function. The important aspect of IAD framework is that outcome is influenced by the institutional arrangements created by local actors in a given context.
Charlotte Hess, noted researcher on common-pool resource, said that the repositories at her academic institutions resembled commons in respects to the incentives for contributing information and the sharing of network capacity in the cases where information resource is in high demand.
Before Ostrom died in 2012, she further elaborated the possible rules to analyze a particular action situation.