Elinor Ostrom’s Governing the Commons

Institutional Diversity, Self-Governance, and Tragedy Diverted

Originally published in The Independent Review

Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom changed the way economists think about common-pool resources with her 1990 book, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Building on the foundation that Ostrom laid, scholars and policymakers today consider what might be needed to find sustainable, cooperative solutions to the “tragedy of the commons” and suggest how communities of individuals might develop the capacity to create those conditions for themselves.

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